Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says the Internal Revenue Service is "gaming Congress" by claiming that it has lost the emails of former official Lois Lerner
because the government watchdog group hasn't run into any problems obtaining her emails.
"So you got Congress with subpoenas, you got Judicial Watch with Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to gain access to these emails," Fitton explained to J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV
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Fitton said his group has "a court order requiring a production of emails," and "we've never been told . . . there's any problem" obtaining them.
Fitton contends that the IRS will "need to explain to Congress" why and how those emails were allegedly lost, adding that he believes that "they're gaming Congress."
"They're not going to be able to get away with that, in my view, before a federal court," he added. "This is a serious issue, it's a serious scandal, and I don't believe it."
Fitton said "important emails are supposed to be printed off if you work in the government. You just can't send out important emails and just rely on the computer systems to keep track of them. You need to print off important material.
"So there's a game going on here," he added.
This is not the first time that the Obama administration has resisted releasing crucial documents to Congress, Fitton said.
"We've already seen that with this administration where subpoenas requiring production of Benghazi talking points — the White House didn’t produce that to Congress," Fitton said.
"But the Obama administration turned it over to Judicial Watch under our litigation," he said.
The difference is that subpoenas turn into a game, while Freedom of Information Act requests reside in the federal court system, and the same games can't be played there, he said.
"You send a subpoena to a lawyer in the government, and the government is going to come up with reasons not to turn over documents, and they're going to play politics," Fitton said.
"It's a political process because you have politicians subpoenaing other politicians, and unless it's before a court there's nothing that's going to be done . . . to enforce the terms of the subpoena," Fitton added.
"When we file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, it's in the court, and they've got to follow the rules and the court orders production on a regular way and they need to tell the court if there are any issues or if they're withholding any documents," he explained.
However, Fitton says that how the requests are being made "shouldn't matter."
"The administration needs to be transparent," he said. "And the idea that you've got to ask the right question or send the right type of legal request in to get information about a major-league scandal like abuse of the IRS shows you that this administration puts transparency way down on the list and is as secretive as anything Nixon would've dreamed of."
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