The room definitely just got hotter for Democrats hoping this scandal will just go away. Via Fox News:
A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner.
The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them.
The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.
“In our view, there has been a cover-up that has been going on,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The Department of Justice, the IRS, had an obligation, an absolute obligation … to alert the court and alert Judicial Watch as soon as they knew when these records were supposedly lost.”
The IRS says it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. She has since retired.
During the court hearing, Sullivan indicated he wanted the portion of the declaration on the computer issues to be wide-ranging, saying “that’s about as broad as I can make it.”
It also emerged at the status hearing that a Treasury Department inspector general probe into the matter is underway.
In related news, Hot Air’s Noah Rothman filed this report on new claims being made by Lerner’s attorney:
On Wednesday, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner’s attorney changed his tune on just how lost those two years’ worth of emails actually were. Lerner’s lawyer, William Taylor II, said that Lerner had printed out some emails in order to comply with records-keeping laws. He had previously said that Lerner did not print and file her email communications because she was unaware that she was required to do so.
“During her tenure as Director of Exempt Organizations, she did print out some emails, although not every one of the thousands she sent and received,” Taylor said in a statement.
In an exchange with Politico, Taylor quibbled over whether or not he had misled that news organization when he told them that Lerner did not print out any emails.
“Your question was whether she printed out ‘official records’ and filed them. I am not saying she did that,” Taylor wrote to Politico reporters. That presumes a level of scrutiny and process over every email that did not occur.”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress that it was his understanding that Lerner had printed out her emails as required by the Federal Records Act. Later, however, Koskinen testified that Lerner may not have printed out her emails because she “did not think it was required.”
Sigh. So many conflicting stores from the mouths of the accused. I wonder if we’ll ever get to the truth?
(Hat tip: Memeorandum)