IRS: computer crash ate two years’ worth of Lerner emails

Paul Caron at the justly admired TaxProf blog has been patiently documenting the IRS scandal since the start and his daily link roundups are now as relevant as they have ever been. More: CNN, John Hinderaker/PowerLine, A. Barton Hinkle (finger of responsibility points at Congress), Peter Suderman. Earlier here, etc.

Update: IRS said on Tuesday that computer crashes swallowed without a trace the emails of several other employees central to the nonprofit-targeting probe, and admitted it waited months to tell congressional investigators that it did not expect to produce Lois Lerner’s emails.


  • Speaking as someone who works in IT, that sort of major screwup seems…. unlikely….

    Perhaps someone should ask for the names of the (Presumably now fired) employees who failed to follow basic backup procedures as well as failing to install MS exchange properly.

  • Hmmm! So the mighty IRS doesn’t have tiered backup servers and archive storage. This is impossible to believe. Also, aside from the sender’s computer, there are many archived copies of these e-mails floating around. I think that an independent company may be able to find these mysteriously missing e-mails and recover them if they were purposely erased. I doubt that they were “wiped” with a DoD 5220.22-M or similar procedure. And if they were, there would be evidence of such purposeful wiping.

  • Even I generate substantial email files. But my dear wife manages to destroy my files at least once a year. So if there is a supena or just a rewuest for emails, the probability of getting everything quickly is near zero. Then the requesting entity can claim cover up, hiding the ball, etc. It happens time after time after time. It is long past time to seriously curb requests for emails. Generally they are more like telephone calls than formal contracts.

    Ms. Lerner was a fine public servant who is collateral damage from Senator Hatch’s manipulation of the IRS IG. Senator Hatch is the person deserving of being boiled in oil.

  • Why all the suspicion? It is merely an example of Darwinian niche filling by organisms. For every niche, an organisim evolves to feed on what is there. Simply put:

    Canidae Computarus Lossois Lerneri emasticated my emails

  • These are the same computers they store our tax records on?


  • […] an update on the fast-developing scandal of evidence destruction at the IRS in my new Cato post (earlier). If not for reading Kim Strassel and her colleagues at the Wall Street Journal, I might not have […]