Justice Dept. blocked search for backup IRS emails, attorney reveals

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This is what stonewalling is for.

irsbuildingThousands of supposedly missing emails related to the IRS targeting of conservative groups that were unearthed by the Treasury Department’s inspector general’s office in February could have been found months earlier if the Justice Department had not blocked an attempt to search IRS storage sites where backup data is kept, an attorney representing one of the targeted groups told the Daily Caller.

Attorney Cleta Mitchell, representing the voter integrity group True the Vote, told the Daily Caller in a story published Tuesday that the Justice Department fought in court last summer to keep a search for emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner from finding backup tapes where agency data is stored.

The IRS has claimed since June that Lerner’s emails that could be key to the scandal have been lost because of a hard drive crash.

However, Treasury Department Inspector General Timothy Camus told the House Committee on Oversight and government reform Thursday that the IRS never looked at its own storage facilities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to see if backup tapes that included the emails were available.

They were there, Camus said: more than 32,000 of them. Investigators are still going through the emails, Camus said last week.

Mitchell told the Daily Caller that she asked a court in July to approve a forensic examination of tapes at IRS storage sites in New Martinsville, W.Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa., but that Justice Department attorneys had blocked her request.

“We said in court that there are off-site servers where all IRS emails are stored,” lawyer Cleta Mitchell said.

During that hearing, Mitchell made clear to the court that she didn’t believe the Lerner emails were really gone.

“I’m advised that the IRS maintains servers that are in different states in different locations and that IRS employees are advised that their emails are never lost,” Mitchell said, according to transcripts cited by the Daily Caller.

With the inspector general’s discovery of the “missing” Lerner emails in February, it turns out she was right.

The emails never were lost. They were just sitting in storage out of sight of investigators while the Obama administration and its allies in the media keep pretending that the IRS crackdown on American citizens is a “phony scandal” cooked up by conservatives.

But that’s what stonewalling is for.

H/T: Independent Journal Review

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