Congressional oversight is such a hassle for bureaucrats who want to break the rules.
In new documents released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday, investigators set out the evidence proving how IRS officials used an Instant Messaging system to hide their their electronic communications from potential investigators.
At the same time, the chairman of the committee demanded IRS Commissioner John Koskinen be forced to resign for his consistently resisting House investigators trying to get to the bottom of the scandal that has dogged the agency since May 2013.
Anyone who missed the developments in the major news media can be forgiven.
House Oversight CMT chmn Chaffetz calls for ouster of IRS chief, threatens impeachment. NY Times, Washington Post, USA Today: not a word.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 28, 2015
The documents detail how, as part of its investigation into the IRS’s harassment of conservative non-profits, the committee discovered that agency employees were encouraged by the head of the Exempt Organizations department, Lois Lerner, to use the system as a way to keep their conversations from becoming public.
In an email uncovered by the investigation, Lerner had warned her colleagues about communicating through traditional email, explaining that employees needed to “be cautious” about what they discussed.
“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails,” Lerner warned colleagues, according to Americans For Tax Reform.
When Lerner was informed that the instant messaging service automatically deleted communications – making Congressional oversight of such conversations impossible – she responded by saying that was “perfect.”
According to an employee who was interviewed by the committee, the system is capable of archiving conversations, but that feature was intentionally shut off by IRS officials.
For being a government agency that requires average Americans to document almost every aspect of their financial lives, the department of the IRS headed by Lerner really didn’t seem terribly keen on transparency.
Nor does the mainstream media, apparently.
Social media users shared Hume’s disgust.
@brithume These newspapers r nothing more than government controlled media without the Government actually controlling them.
— Michael Edward II (@AmericanVet3) July 29, 2015