Judge Sets Date for IRS to Explain Not Informing Court on Lost Emails

Friday, 27 Jun 2014 07:54 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A federal judge Friday set a July 10 date for IRS officials to explain why they didn't tell the court about the missing emails of a former official at the center of a tea party targeting scandal.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Emmett Sullivan granted a motion filed earlier in the day by lawyers for conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, which asked for a status conference "as soon as possible to discuss the IRS's failure to fulfill its duties to this court under the law, as well as other ramifications of this lawsuit," the Washington Examiner reported. 

"The IRS is clearly in full cover-up mode," Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president, said in a statement, The Hill reported. "It is well past time for the Obama administration to answer to a federal court about its cover-up and destruction of records." 

In its motion, Judicial Watch noted the IRS publicly acknowledged the loss of ex-official Lois Lerner's emails in early February, the Examiner reported. 

On Feb. 26, the Examiner reported, the IRS turned over the first documents in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in October 2013, but made no mention of the lost emails.

Lerner first acknowledged in May 2013 that the agency improperly scrutinized tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status in 2012. 

Judicial Watch charges that "although IRS had knowledge of the missing Lois Lerner emails and of the other IRS officials', it materially omitted any mention of the missing records" in an April 30 status update, the Examiner reported.

The IRS said it was reviewing the court's action.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified at congressional hearings earlier this week the agency learned that there were issues with Lerner’s emails in February, but that he found out they were missing in April – and that the IRS waited to tell Congress to ensure it could fully explain what happened. 

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