The IRS is "pretending to be computer illiterate" when it insists possible "smoking gun emails" written by former agency official Lois Lerner and others are gone forever, says Patrick Howley, a reporter for The Daily Caller.
It is "a common excuse that they fall back on,'' Howley told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"The Federal Records Act actually requires them to print out every email that gets used in agency business and to file the printed copy in a manila folder somewhere and to keep it in the office.
"So regardless of the whole issue about the hard drive, we already know that they are in violation of federal law because they weren't keeping hard copies of these things.''
The IRS has told a congressional committee probing the alleged targeting of tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status that a computer crash wiped out several years of key emails.
Despite the excuse, Howley said he has faith in House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa to uncover the truth.
"Darrell Issa knows the law very well, he knows the Federal Records Act, he knows all the statutes. He has the ability to figure out which federal laws the IRS has violated, and he is gearing up to prosecute them criminally based on this computer crash,'' he said.
"We know now, obviously, based on all this evidence, that what is in these emails, in these computer crashes, is the smoking gun. We know that. There's no way that these emails could come back and turn up anything other than something damning for the administration.
"So we have this smoking gun, we just don't have it in our possession, and it's up to Darrell Issa, and it's up to Dave Camp with the House Ways and Means Committee to apply pressure and to use the law and to prosecute these people criminally if they're not going to give up these emails.''
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