Rep. Issa: Lerner Email Could Be 'Smoking Gun' in IRS Probe

Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 09:44 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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An email by former IRS official Lois Lerner urging her colleagues to show caution in their correspondence could be the "smoking gun" in Congress' investigation into the agency's targeting of conservative groups, Rep. Darrell Issa told "Fox & Friends."

In April 2013, with the investigation under way into IRS improprieties, Lerner wrote colleagues to "be cautious about what we say in emails." Lerner wrote the email before she retired from the agency in September 2013.

"What we get is perhaps what CNN was asking me for a couple weeks ago, a smoking gun," the California Republican said Thursday. "It's very clear, April 9, 2013, well into this investigation, she's still on the job. And, she's still covering her tracks, or considering, if you will, whether they're covered."

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Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that is investigating the IRS targeting. The email was among documents released to the committee last week. He said another important element in Lerner's email was her questioning whether the agency's instant messaging service was archived, and appeared to be pleased when she found out it wasn't.

"This is Lois Lerner clearly cautioning people not to say things on email and being delighted to find out that the local instant chat that they have, this Microsoft product, wasn't tracking what they said, so that they could do this instant messaging back and forth at the IRS without any audit trail," Issa said.

Issa said the issue at the heart of the probe centered on Lerner and other IRS employees "trying to overturn a Supreme Court decision, clearly in concert with [President Barack Obama's] views." He explained the cover-up was that the agency was "slow rolling the answer."

Issa expressed concern that the Obama administration would use federal agencies to suppress opposing views.

"This is an ideologically driven administration that all of its tentacles are targeting against what they don't like. And it's scary," he said.

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