Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service’s director of Exempt Organizations currently on paid leave, has not had any of her computer access restricted since she abdicated her responsibilities, according to an IRS source with knowledge of the situation.
Lerner was placed on administrative leave on May 23 after refusing to tender her resignation, and logged into the IRS’s computer system using her agency computer as recently as June 4, the source says. She has the ability to access the same information that was available to her before she was placed on leave. The source tells National Review Online:
[Lerner] can still access taxpayer data. If your duties do not include dealing with taxpayers, you are forbidden from seeing the information. That is a violation of IRS policy, and if she actually accesses any file that contains any Personal Identifiable Information, it is a felony violation. That would include emails that she has in her files discussing any taxpayer case that contains the name, address, phone numbers or tax data from a case. Actual Unauthorized Access (IRS uses the term UNAX) would be a really good reason for the new boss to can her in a hurry. I am sure a simple examination of her email files and hard drive would discover she still has taxpayer data.
Since Lerner is not currently dealing with taxpayers while on leave, she is forbidden from accessing any taxpayer data, though her computer permissions allow her to do so.
Based in Washington, D.C., Lerner oversaw the division that actively discriminated against conservative groups applying for tax exemption. As National Review Online has reported, Lerner also stymied the House Oversight Committee’s efforts to investigate the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, telling the committee last year that the criteria for evaluation applications for tax exemption had not changed – though the criteria had in fact been amended in order to identify the applications of tea-party groups. In a 90-page letter to the committee, she also defended the intrusive letters sent to many tea-party groups, calling them routine and a matter of course.
Lerner’s hard drive was copied weeks ago by the IRS and uploaded to a secure server accessible to investigators looking into the IRS’s discrimination against conservative groups.