IRS Concealed Internal Communications By Using Instant-Messaging System

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner / AP


Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials–including ex-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner–used an instant-messaging system in a seemingly deliberate effort to prevent their communications from being archived.

Americans for Tax Reform observed that new documents released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform demonstrate that IRS officials used an instant messaging system called the "Office Communication Server," denoted OCS, that did not archive their communications.

Moreover, in an email obtained by the House committee, Lerner wrote to her IRS colleagues of the need to be "cautious about what we say in emails," as the agency had on "several occasions" been asked by Congress to provide select emails or submit to "electronic search for responsive emails."

Lerner also asked fellow employees whether the OCS messages are archived, after which she was informed that they are not. "Perfect," she wrote in response.

While the instant-messaging system can be directed to archive messages, an employee questioned by the House committee said that the IRS elected not to take advantage of this feature.

These new revelations come just as multiple members of the House committee–including chairman Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah)–are calling on President Obama to fire Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen from his post for obstructing the congressional probe into the agency’s targeting of conservative groups. 

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published Monday, Reps. Ron Desantis (R., Fla.) and Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) threatened to impeach Koskinen if Obama fails to act. 

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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