TIME TO TALK: Federal Court Issues Ruling Compelling IRS to Provide Answers on Lerner IRS Emails

Lois Lerner

Boom! Time to spill the beans, IRS.

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted a Judicial Watch request to issue an order requiring the IRS to provide answers by June 12, 2015, on the status of the Lois Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost.  Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing on June 2, 2015, demanding answers about Lois Lerner’s emails, which had been recovered from backup tapes.  Judge Sullivan issued the court order on June 4, 2015.

Judicial Watch has argued that the IRS misled the court and Judicial Watch by withholding the truth about the existence and content of the backup tapes.  In response to Judicial Watch’s litigation and pressure from Congress, some of Lerner’s emails had been recovered by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) despite testimony from the IRS Commissioner and representations to Judge Sullivan that Lerner’s emails had been irretrievably lost and destroyed. In its June 2 filing, Judicial Watch detailed:

Because the emails recovered from the backup tapes are responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request, [Judicial Watch] respectfully requests that the Court order the IRS to submit to the Court a report by June 12, 2015 addressing the status of the emails recovered by TIGTA.  The report should include:

(a) clarification as to whether all emails that have been recovered by TIGTA have now been turned over to the IRS for review and processing in response to Plaintiff’s request, the volume of those emails, and the time frame in which the IRS anticipates completing its review and production of responsive emails, and

(b) clarification as to whether the processing is complete for all 1,268 backup tapes to determine what emails are recoverable, and if not, when the processing is expected to be complete.

Two days after Judicial Watch’s filing, Judge Sullivan issued the following order:

The IRS is directed to respond to [Judicial Watch’s] notice by no later than June 12, 2015.

Judicial Watch is seeking Lerner’s emails as part of its Freedom of Information litigation over the Obama IRS’s targeting  conservative political groups and citizens in the months leading up to President Obama’s reelection bid in 2012 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559))

On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testified to House Government Oversight and Reform Committee that the oversight agency had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.

Read more: judicialwatch.org

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