Unlike many others, I have been resistant to the thought the email hard drive was deliberately crashed. I thought it was coincidence — and a real lucky one for Lois Lerner. I have been suspicious of her and very suspicious but just not for deliberately crashing her hard drive 2 years before the investigation began in earnest.
My two reasons for formerly not thinking it was part of a conspiracy but just a coincidence that then fueled conspiracy theories were that — first, I just don’t think lawyers are that smart that they can crash their hard drive and that of 6 others (yes, I know, people have told me that it is not that difficult); and second, I did not think that back in 2011 Lerner would have been worried about a possible investigation into her handling of conservative groups as they sought tax exempt status. The tax exempt status investigation would not begin in earnest until 2 years after the letter, in 2013. I don’t think Lerner or anyone else can see into the future and the future (May of 2013) was when the House investigation exploded.
People who disagreed with my former view – coincidence v. deliberate – pointed to a Ways and Means letter dated June 3, 2011 (posted below) as evidence of a motive for Lerner or someone to crash the hard drive. (Remember, the ABA question was not planted until May of 2013.) But the Ways and Means letter addressed not targeting of tax exempt status applications from conservative groups but a gift tax issue (albeit targeting alleged.) I did not connect the two. I see now that both were targeting allegations, just different kinds.
With news this week, that in April 2013 Lerner sent an email to colleagues warning colleagues about their emails being obtained by Congress (a deliberate effort to subvert Congress’ oversight duty of the IRS), it is apparent to me that she was worried … worried that she would get caught for something. Her worry (panic?) means to me – she was hiding something. You don’t send email warnings around as she did unless you are trying to hide something – and hide it from Congress with its duty to provide oversight for the American people. That is an IRS employee subverting Congress – and of course the underlying suspicion of targeting.
After the news of her 2013 email warning to colleagues, I went back to the June 2011 letter — see below — and re – read it. This letter was sent right before the hard drive crash. I had not been suspicious of it as the motive for Lerner or someone to want to deliberately crash a hard drive since the letter was not specifically about APPLICATIONS for tax exemption. The letter is about gift tax and here is the first paragraph (full letter below):
Here is what I am now suspicious of — that the IRS scandal is BIGGER, even worse than I originally thought — and I have thought it bad.
I suspect targeting goes beyond just targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exemption status. I suspect this letter from Ways and Means in June of 2011 tipped some people off — Lerner? — that there might be an investigation about targeting (other than exemptions) and then suddenly the hard drive crashed.
The question I now have, and how the investigation should be expanded is to determine whether there are OTHER WAYS CONSERVATIVE GROUPS WERE TARGETED BEYOND THE APPLICATIONS FOR EXEMPTION – and/ or even the gift tax issue. Was the targeting of the tax exempt status applications only the tip of the iceberg ?
We need a SPECIAL PROSECUTOR to investigate as the American people are entitled to all the facts and it is important that the American people have confidence that the IRS is fair and not a political weapon.
And the Obama Administration should welcome a full and fair investigation. If it turns out there is nothing illegally done — the President and A/G get a big “I told you so.” And if the IRS is dirty? President Obama can take a bow as the one who cleaned up the IRS for the American people.
PS There is way way way too much smoke! Don’t forget the Senator Grassley issue that just came out. That was really bad! Lerner clearly wanted to “get” Senator Grassley and she was so dead wrong in what she was doing. Lerner wanted to send that matter to audit and her colleague at the IRS had to tell her she could not. Senator Grassley is on the Finance Committee that oversees the IRS — and Lerner was attacking him, abusing her power at the IRS.