Government investigators say IRS employees erased computer backup tapes a month after officials discovered that thousands of emails related to the tax agency's tea party scandal had been lost.
The investigators, however, concluded that employees erased the tapes by mistake, not as part of an attempt to destroy evidence.
The report is likely to fuel conspiracy theories among conservatives who say the IRS has obstructed congressional investigations into the scandal.
The revelation is being made by the agency's inspector general, who is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee Thursday morning. The Associated Press obtained a copy of his prepared testimony.
The inspector general set off a firestorm in 2013 with an audit that said agents improperly singled out conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status.
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