Judge Orders Further IRS Testimony about ‘Lost’ Lerner E-mails

by Ian Tuttle

Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over watchdog group Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the IRS ordered further IRS affidavits yesterday, suggesting that the sworn testimony the IRS has provided thus far has not met Judge Sullivan’s approval. The order, made available to attorneys of both parties on Thursday, reads:

In light of [26] the Declarations filed by the IRS, the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014. In this Declaration, the IRS must:

(1) provide information about its efforts, if any, to recover missing Lois Lerner emails from alternate sources (i.e., Blackberry, iPhone, iPad);

(2) provide additional information explaining the IRS’s policy of tracking inventory through use of bar code property tags, including whether component parts, such as hard drives, receive a bar code tag when serviced. If individual components do not receive a bar code tag, provide information on how the IRS tracks component parts, such as hard drives, when being serviced;

(3) provide information about the IRS’s policy to degauss hard drives, including whether the IRS records whose hard drive is degaussed, either by tracking the employee’s name or the particular machine with which the hard drive was associated; and

(4) provide information about the outside vendor who can verify the IRS’s destruction policies concerning hard drives.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to Judge Sullivan’s order:

In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner.

Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS’ filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order. 

At last month’s status hearing, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to declare under oath what had happened to Lois Lerner’s “lost” IRS e-mails and what steps had been taken to recover them. Those affidavits were due August 10.

In 2013, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request for e-mails to and from Lerner, the former head of the IRS’s tax-exempt division. The organization claims that the IRS never informed them of Lerner’s computer crash, in violation of the law.

After September 10, Judicial Watch will be allowed to file a motion requesting limited discovery.

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