Congress to Obama: Send Us 'All Communications' Between Your Office and Lois Lerner
(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is asking President Obama to "ensure accountability" in the ongoing IRS investigation by providing his committee with "all communications between Lois Lerner and any persons within the Executive Office of President for the period between January 1, 2009 and May 1, 2011."
The IRS informed Congress on Friday that an untold number of Lerner's emails to outside agencies, including the White House, were lost during the 2009-2011 time frame due to a "computer crash."
Ways and Means is one of three congressional committees investigating the way the IRS, during Lerner's tenure, handled groups seeking tax-exempt status. The IRS admits that conservative groups were singled out for inappropriate scrutiny and delay before the 2012 election.
"Dear Mr. President," Camp wrote to Obama on Monday, reminding him that he promised to "work hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed.”
"In order to ensure accountability and 'get this thing fixed,' please provide by June 30, 2014, all communications between Lois Lerner and any persons within the Executive Office of the President (EOP) for the period between January 1, 2009 and May 1, 2011. Also, please indicate in writing when the EOP was informed, and by whom, that the IRS had lost critical Lerner documents."
Camp noted that his committee has uncovered "material evidence of wrongdoing at the IRS," including "specific actions" by Lois Lerner, who formerly headed the tax-exempt division.
Although the committee has thousands of Lerner's emails from the critical 2009-2011 period, they include only those to or from other IRS employees.
Camp said he's also requested "all communications" between Lerner and anyone working at the Treasury Department, Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Election Commission, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has agreed to testify before the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, June 24.
"He will be directly questioned about what, if any, IRS rules were broken with regard to the failure to preserve documents, when he and IRS staff knew that the documents were lost, and if the IRS exhausted all efforts to recover the documents – including consultation with outside experts," Camp said.
“We are simply not going to accept the IRS claim that these documents are not recoverable."
Camp also says it's unacceptable that he is just learning about the many missing Lerner emails more than a year into the investigation of IRS targeting.
In addition to the probe by the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has subpoenaed Koskinen to testify on Monday, June 23, at 7 p.m.
“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting," Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote in a letter accompanying the Koskinen subpoena.
"For too long, the IRS has promised to produce requested -- and, later, subpoenaed -- documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction. Despite your empty promises and broken commitments to cooperation, the IRS still insists on flouting Constitutional congressional oversight."
Issa noted that Congress passed the Federal Records Act to preserve key documents, such as those that were stored on Lerner's hard drive.