The other day I read an article in the Washington Post from an opinion writer doing a timeline on the IRS scandal. Sadly, I can’t find that exact article, but found another with a similar timeline from the WP.
The reason for the post is to illustrate a lesson on how “facts” can be manipulated by someone in order to support their agenda. While you go through the WP timeline, see if you can identify what they left out.
If you can’t here is what they are missing and why any “the computer crash was unrelated to the investigation” line is bull.
Here is why.
Scott wrote earlier today about the motion that True the Vote is bringing against the IRS in the federal court in the District of Columbia. The motion asks for expedited discovery with respect to the IRS’s destruction of evidence relevant to True the Vote’s case, an order prohibiting further destruction of evidence, and other relief. I have read True the Vote’s brief in support of its motion. It appears powerful. The brief is posted below; you can read it for yourself.
But first, these observations. Under federal law, a party has a duty to preserve data that may be relevant to any actual or likely lawsuit. This duty arises from the party’s own knowledge; it is not necessary for a court to tell it not to destroy information, or for an adverse party to make such a request. The fundamental, shocking fact that is emphasized in True the Vote’s brief is this: at the time of Lois Lerner’s hard drive crash in June 2011, the IRS was already under a legal duty to take steps to ensure that information was not lost, and had been under such a duty for nearly a year, at a minimum. I am speaking here only of the normal requirements that are imposed on any party to a lawsuit, or potential lawsuit. Federal law probably imposes a higher duty on federal agencies, but that is a subject for another day.
True the Vote’s brief points out that the first lawsuit alleging discriminatory targeting of conservative groups was filed by a pro-Israel group called Z Street, Inc., on August 25, 2010. On that date, at the very latest, the IRS had a legal duty to take measures to ensure that no emails, correspondence, memoranda, notes, or other evidence of any sort that could be relevant to the case was lost or destroyed. (Congressional investigations, or other information known to the IRS, may have triggered the duty at an earlier date.) Lois Lerner’s communications would have been at the very top of the list of materials that the IRS had a legal duty to go out of its way to preserve.
But, according to IRS representatives who have testified before Congressional committees, the IRS ignored the law. Instead of making sure that relevant information was preserved, the IRS blithely continued erasing back-up email tapes every 90 days. Further, the IRS continued its policy of assigning each employee a ridiculously small space on an email server, and then authorizing employees (like Lois Lerner) to delete at will to keep space open. And, finally, when Lerner’s hard drive crashed ten months after the Z Street case was commenced, the IRS made no effort to preserve it, but rather, by its own account, recycled the hard drive in a business-as-usual manner.
Lerner and crew knew the proverbial poop was going to his the rapidly oscillating blades in 2010. Right after that, they began to scramble and meet and get their stories straight. Part of that scrambling was the destruction of key players’ computer records and communications. (Seriously folks, the Mafia has to be looking at each other saying “why didn’t we think of that!)
The chances of six or seven key people having their computer crash, and all of them being unrecoverable, is astronomical. In a court case, juries would find the defendant guilty on that alone. Especially when asked to produce the IT guy who supposedly worked on the computers and the defendants claim something ate him too.
To send that old guy up to Congress to get yelled at is theater. If I were running the show, I would look at him, look past him, look around and say, “Did you bring the IT guy and the paperwork on the recovery effort?” If the answer was no, I’d say “Then why am I talking to you?” and send him packing with a subpoena I PERSONALLY HANDED HIM IN FRONT OF THE CAMERAS!
But that’s me. Issa is frustrated and making some basic errors. This is theater, make it a GOOD theater. When Koskinen said the hard drive was gone, then was unable to give the name of the person who told him that or WHEN he was told that or WHERE he was told that (not to mention HOW he was told that- a report?) we should know this is not being taken seriously by the IRS. Hell, they should have sent up the janitor. He probably knows more.
The other case, running in the background and carrying more weight than Congress apparently, is the actual court case. Powerline highlights some details.
Last night Cleta filed a motion asking the Court to order limited discovery for the purpose of investigating the “lost” emails at the IRS. Along with a set of the motion papers, Cleta has sent us the following message by way of an update. Cleta writes:
We have been trying to get counsel for ALL of these defendants – from the IRS to the individuals from the IRS responsible for the targeting scandal – to answer questions regarding what steps they have taken to preserve evidence in this case while we are awaiting the judge’s rulings on THEIR motions to dismiss. The government attorneys refuse even to call the missing emails “evidence” – arguing that until the judge rules on the motions, the documents and emails in the possession of the Defendants (or lost by the Defendants) do not even constitute “evidence.”
So after sending letters, meeting and conferring, and getting nowhere, we filed this motion late last night – and by mid-morning the judge’s clerk was in contact with us asking if a hearing date of July 11 was agreeable to the parties. Judge Walton just issued the order scheduling the hearing for July 11 at 11 am EDT.
We plan to argue to the Court that unless the Court takes immediate steps to require Defendants to disclose what they have done to preserve evidence in the case, what they have done to try to recover any “lost” evidence, and to allow us access for purposes of conducting our own forensic examinations and investigation, that evidence will continue to be lost, spoiled or destroyed. We are pleased that Judge Walton has moved quickly to address these concerns and we look forward to the hearing next week.
The question is will her court case meet the same stonewalling, and if it does what can the judge order? It is obvious now the Obama people think they are above the law. Even as the public turns on them, they just keep right on trucking, singing the song “The ends justify the means!” that is the theme for all the Left.
There is an IT guy in the bowels of the IRS, who should have backed up data when he destroyed what he knew was going to be evidence, for his own safety.
THAT is the guy I want to talk to.