The IRS said under oath Friday that former agency official Lois Lerner’s hard drive was destroyed and recycled, echoing earlier testimony from its commissioner.
In its most extensive comments yet on Lerner’s hard drive, the agency said in court filings Friday that the hard drive was destroyed in 2011 to protect confidential taxpayer information.
Before that, the IRS said, the hard drive underwent a process designed to permanently erase stored data. That process occurred after a series of IRS technical officers examined Lerner’s hard drive, and found that it couldn’t be restored after a crash.
The IRS’s court filings came as part of a lawsuit filed against the agency by True the Vote, a conservative activist group.
A week ago, Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court in Washington imposed a Friday deadline for the IRS to tell the court what happened to Lerner’s hard drive, among other questions.
The IRS said last month that Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011, leaving a chunk of her emails for the previous two-plus years missing.
That admission reignited the investigations into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt groups. Lerner kicked off that controversy in May 2013 by apologizing for the IRS’s behavior, and has since become the central figure in the inquiry.
[GOP] skeptics, along with Judge Walton, also sought the serial number to Lerner’s hard drive.
In its court filing, the IRS said that it got the hard drive’s serial number from an outside contractor who sold the agency Lerner’s laptop computer. The IRS added that it only puts bar codes on larger pieces of equipment, like laptop or desktop computers.
The IRS said that it was standard practice for hard drives to be shredded before any of their parts were recycled. Because of its tracking system, the IRS said that it’s now impossible to say what happened to any of the parts of Lerner’s hard drive that might have been put back into use.
Stewart Baker at the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog quips:
Why? According to The Hill, “the agency said in court filings Friday that the hard drive was destroyed in 2011 to protect confidential taxpayer information.”
I’m sure the IRS feels it’s a little ungrateful of Tea Party groups to complain about the agency’s heroic efforts to protect them.
Indeed. The irony, and much more importantly, the bull sh*t IRS excuses are so thick you could cut them with a knife. I know it’s just a fantasy that will never in reality happen but I’d love every one of these sad excuses for “public servants” be carted off to prison to serve some serious time for what they’ve done. It’s absolutely sickening – and rest assured, if this happened under the Bush administration those involved would have already done the perp walk, and then some.