(CNSNews.com) – After the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was subpoenaed and issued a preservation order for Lois Lerner’s missing emails, tapes that potentially contained her emails were wiped, which was the topic of conversation at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing at the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
“There was a preservation order in place, there’s a subpoena in place, they’ve never complied with it; we’ve had testimony from the IRS commissioner that we would get all this only to find out they’ve been degaussing these tapes and they destroyed evidence,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) at the hearing.
The main witnesses at the hearing were Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George and Deputy Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Office of Investigations Tim Camus.
“That’s what they did and that’s why we continue to have this,” said Chaffetz. “We haven’t even gotten into the content of the emails. We’re just trying to get them so we can read them and figure out what’s going on.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) focused his remarks on the timeline of events happening with the IRS scandal.
“On May 10, 2013 Lois Lerner, unprecedented, goes to a bar association meeting here in town three days before you’re going to issue your report. They want to get ahead of it [of the investigation], get their spin on it, so right from the get go the IRS is not being transparent, not helping the American people get to the truth because she goes and lies and she says it’s line agents in Cincinnati - May 10, 2013,” said Jordan.
He continued: “Twelve days later, there’s a preservation notice sent to people in the IRS; wasn’t followed; we found out, so twelve days later on May 22, 2013, notice that says don’t destroy any evidence, right? We want all the emails, we want all the documents preserved.”
“August 2, 2013, there’s a subpoena for the same documents they’re supposed to preserve, there’s a subpoena to give them to Congress,” said Jordan. “February 2, 2014, the IRS learns, not just anybody at the IRS, the chief legal counsel learns that there’s a problem with Lois Lerner’s hard drive and emails are missing.”
“One month later, despite the preservation order, despite the subpoena, one month after the chief counsel knows we’re missing some emails, 422 tapes containing those emails are destroyed,” said Jordan. “And three weeks after that, March 26, 2014, the head of the IRS, Commissioner Koskinen sits right where you’re sitting, Mr. Camus and he tells this committee we’re going to get you every single email Lois Lerner has sent.”
“So, preservation order, subpoena, don’t destroy anything – they destroy it,” said Jordan. “Three weeks later the guy in charge tells us we’re going to get you everything and they’ve already been destroyed. So here’s the question, how in the world could that happen?”
“It’s an unbelievable set of circumstances that would allow that to happen and it’s going to be fully documented in our report and I’m not sure I can describe it to you in five minutes,” said Tim Camus, the Deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
“The reason you can’t describe it is because there’s no explanation for that other than they were trying to not help the American people get to the truth, they were trying to hide something,” said Jordan.
Lois Lerner, former Director of IRS Exempt Organizations, publicly acknowledged that the IRS was targeting conservative groups and apologized on May 10, 2013, explained the Oversight Committee.
Since then, the Committee has requested documents from the IRS to assist in its investigation of the targeting program. The IRS has failed to comply, wiping 422 tapes that may have contained Lerner’s emails.