Government lawyers have told a watchdog group suing over the Internal Revenue Service scandal that Lois Lerner’s emails aren’t missing after all.
Attorneys for the Justice Department surprised Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, on Friday by saying that they have copies of every electronic message ever sent from Lerner, a former top IRS official who is a key figure in a targeting scandal involving conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status.
The IRS told Congress that thousands of Lerner’s emails sent prior to 2011 were hopelessly lost thanks to a hard drive crash that left the data unrecoverable. A back-up system, they said, had also been erased. Officials told Congress about a half dozen IRS officials in addition to Lerner, some affiliated with the targeting, had also lost emails due to computer crashes.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Justice Department lawyers informed him that the federal government keeps a back-up copy of every email and record in the event of a government-wide catastrophe.
The back-up system includes the IRS emails, too.
“So, the emails may be inconvenient to access, but they are not gone with the [broken] hard drive,” Judicial Watch spokeswoman Jill Farrell told the Washington Examiner.
(For more details on Lerner’s dilemma, click the link.)