The IRS disclosed in a court filing on Monday that former agency official Lois Lerner used a second personal e-mail operated under the alias “Toby Miles” to conduct IRS business.
Her use of the mysterious account has prompted speculation into the source of the name. “Toby Miles,” according to a former Lerner colleague, is the name of Lerner’s dog: Toby is the dog’s name, and Miles is the surname of Lerner’s husband, Michael Miles.
The IRS disclosed the existence of the second account in a legal filing as part of its ongoing battle with the right-leaning investigative group Judicial Watch.
“In addition to e-mails to or from an e-mail account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner’ or ‘Lois Home,’ some e-mails responsive to Judicial Watch’s’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal e-mail account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’” a lawyer for the agency told Federal District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
Lerner’s e-mail accounts, both official and personal, became the subject of scrutiny when she was identified as a key figure in the IRS’s targeting of conservative non-profit groups in May of 2013. Lerner has since retired from the agency. The House of Representatives held her in contempt of Congress after she repeatedly refused to testify before the body, but the Department of Justice has not pursued a criminal prosection.
The House Ways and Means Committee also discovered the “Toby Miles” e-mail address in its investigation and revealed the address itself — firstname.lastname@example.org — in its criminal referral to the Justice Department.
Lerner was not alone in her use of an e-mail alias. Lisa Jackson, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, used the e-mail alias “Richard Windsor,” apparently derived from the name of a dog her family owned while living in Windsor, New Jersey.