By Jack Minor –
While Attorney General Eric Holder has so far resisted demands from Congress to appoint a special prosecutor over the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, the agency may not have dodged the bullet after all as a federal judge is calling the agency on the carpet to explain itself over the missing emails.
The judges actions come as part of a lawsuit filed by True the Vote, a Houston based organization that exists to maintain the integrity of elections. The group filed a lawsuit after the organization found itself targeted by both the IRS and various government agencies during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns.
As part of their suit they have also requested the emails from Lois Lerner, the former head of the non-profit division at the IRS that the agency claims to have lost following her hard drive crash. Members of Congress have said they do not believe the IRS lost the emails while polls show a vast number of Americans and even a majority of Democrats believe the IRS purposely lost the emails. Congress has called for a special prosecutor but so far the administration have rebuffed the request calling it a waste of time.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton appears to not share the same sentiment. Walton is the judge hearing True the Vote’s case and has ordered the IRS into his courtroom to explain why the IRS shouldn’t be forced to allow an outside expert in to determine whether the emails from Lerner and six other colleagues in the investigation truly are irretrievable.
True the Vote is asking the judge to appoint a digital forensic accountant to look into the agency’s systems to access the evidence.
“Even if the ill-timed hard drive ‘crash’ was truly an accident, and even if the IRS genuinely believes that the emails are ‘unrecoverable,’ the circumstances of the spoliation at issue cry out for a second opinion,” True the Vote’s attorneys told Walton Monday’s motion.
“It may well prove to be the case that a computer forensics expert could recover evidence that the IRS has been unable to retrieve,” the motion said. “At the very least, such an expert could preserve whatever evidence has not already been wiped clean from the IRS’s computers along with whatever is stored on the Individual Defendants’ home computers, cell phones, and other PDAs.”
The agency has also been told why it failed to notify Judicial Watch, another watchdog group who filed a FOIA request in May of 2013, about the lost emails in a timely fashion.