Accuracy in Media

We have written extensively about the supposedly phony scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative groups for increased scrutiny in order to delay and avoid granting them their tax exempt status. The New York Observer cited our work in demonstrating how the scandal tied in directly to the White House:

Not long ago, the president said he knew nothing about the IRS target-hunting. Roger Aronoff reported that both the White House Chief of Staff and White House Counsel Ms. Ruemmler knew about the targeting of conservative groups at least a month before (the now infamous) Ms. Lerner ‘planted a question’ regarding the IRS’ abusive actions. ‘President Obama later claimed on national television that in terms of the IRS scandal, there wasn’t a ‘smidgeon of corruption’ in his administration, and blamed the whole episode on ‘bone-headed decisions’ of bureaucrats.’

The Obama administration had clearly hoped to shut down the investigation by claiming that the central figure in the investigation, Lois Lerner, and six other IRS staffers, had all lost their emails when their computers crashed. They said that after they were unable to recover her emails, they recycled the hard drive, so they didn’t even have that to turn it over to the investigating committee.

Our friends at Judicial Watch have been leading the way in this investigation. And this week they revealed that a Justice Department attorney told one of their attorneys that, in fact, Lerner’s emails were not lost. They stated that “…indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe.”

On Monday of this week, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton went on Fox News, where he made the disclosure, and they also released a statement:

Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.

We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.

This is a jaw-dropping revelation. The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information.

The administration disputes Judicial Watch’s interpretation of what they were told last week regarding the back-up. But unfortunately for them, the Obama administration doesn’t have much credibility on this issue.

Now it turns out that “Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.”

Maybe it’s time for someone in Congress to ask the Alexander Butterfield question to someone with intimate knowledge of the current White House, and break this phony scandal wide open.

Butterfield was the deputy assistant to President Nixon during the time around the Watergate break-in. He was asked by Fred Thompson, serving as a counsel for the Watergate Committee: “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?”

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