A Washington federal judge rejected
conservative group True the Vote's request for an independent researcher to investigate what happened to Lois Lerner's emails that allegedly went missing, and the group's attorney, Cleta Mitchell, described the ruling as a "temporary setback."
The decision was made by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, and Mitchell told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV
Monday that "one thing he relied on is this investigation, that the Department of Justice kept saying, 'well there's already an investigation of the missing emails. The Treasury inspector general is investigating.'"
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"The judge had ordered the TIGTA, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, that's the official name, the TIGTA investigators to supply the court with information as to their credentials and expertise to conduct this investigation," she said.
"Essentially what the judge is saying is, 'alright, well we're going to let that proceed,'" she said.
However, the Washington attorney explained that it doesn't mean that there's no recourse.
"There's always the opportunity to come back and say, 'it isn't sufficient,'" Mitchell said.
"At this point he's saying, he's going to let the TIGTA investigation go forward, and then we'll see if we need to do something further," she added. "So it's a temporary setback, but I'm not too worried about it at this point."
She said what matters most to her is that "the judge allows the case to go forward. That's what we really want."
Mitchell said the group has been waiting since December 2013 "for the judge to rule on the government's motion to dismiss the lawsuit."
She said that they expect a ruling at some point in the next 10 days.
The argument that those at the IRS are using to have the lawsuit over the alleged targeting of conservative groups seeking nonprofit status dismissed is that "they're immune," she said.
According to Mitchell, True the Vote and its legal team is "keeping a good eye on this TIGTA investigation."
She explained that the biggest concern is "that it's really not independent."
"TIGTA has come in and given the IRS every year a passing grade when they've analyzed whether or not the IRS is in compliance with FISMA, which is the Federal Information Security Management Act," she said.
FISMA compliance "would have prevented this," she contends. "If they'd really been in compliance with the law that requires federal agencies to have backup systems and redundancies so that they don't lose information in federal records."
"But TIGTA had given [the IRS] a clean bill of health every year for the last five years, which is crazy," Mitchell added. "You wonder what TIGTA really looked at to give the IRS a passing grade."
This is the type of information she and the other attorneys will bring up to the judge if TIGTA's investigation comes up lacking.
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