Loss of Lois Lerner emails amid tea party targeting probe unresolved

(Washington Times) – Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.

The Internal Revenue Service solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight.

Congressional investigators of the IRS targeting of conservative groups have been hampered by the unexplained destruction of emails and other records of Ms. Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division and a central figure in the scandal.

The loss of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive also raised broader questions about why the tax agency never reported the missing records to the National Archives and Records Administration, as required by the Federal Records Act.

While those questions remained unresolved, IRS officials signaled plans to destroy tens of thousands of additional electronic records.

“After all media are destroyed, they must not be capable of any reuse or information retrieval,” IRS officials stated in the contract papers.

Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating the IRS scandal, said the committee has broad concerns about the agency’s record-retention practices...(MORE)