IRS lost emails case under scrutiny

Washington — The head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has called on former Internal Revenue Service counsel Jennifer O'Connor to testify Tuesday about the disappearance of IRS e-mails that could shed light on the agency's tea party controversy. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, issued the request in a letter to O'Connor, now a White House attorney, on Thursday. In the letter, Issa said that O'Connor "likely knew or should have known" that the IRS was missing years' worth of emails to and from former agency official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the agency's targeting of nonprofit advocacy groups based on their names and policy positions. O'Connor played a key role in supervising the review and production of records that congressional investigators requested as part of their review of the targeting matter, according to statements that IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins gave to committee staff. The White House did not respond to requests for comment about Issa's letter or whether it plans to make O'Connor available for testimony. The IRS notified Congress earlier this month that it was missing emails for Lerner. It said that her emails were lost after her computer crashed in June 2011 and that the agency subsequently destroyed her hard drive as a matter of protocol. The agency also said it plans to provide 24,000 additional Lerner emails from the 2009-2011 time period by searching the files of dozens of other individuals. The agency has released emails confirming that Lerner's computer crashed and that technology experts, including some from the IRS forensics lab, tried to recover the data.
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