When it comes to U.S. political scandals, they usually revolve around the same themes over and over again; typically sex, money, or power. However, in the case of a scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service, a piece of computer hardware has stepped into the spotlight.
A report claims that the hard drive in the computer used by Lois Lerner, a former IRS official, was “recycled.” This allegedly enraged some politicians in the Republican party who are currently investigating the tax-collecting wing of the United States government for hassling the tax-exempt statuses of certain conservative and Tea Party advocacy groups.
“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception,” Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said. “Official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.”
Despite the fact that the hard drive was recycled, the IRS was still able to recover 24,000 of Lerner’s emails that were sent between 2009 and 2011. The agency was able to do so because Lerner had copied other IRS employees when sending those messages. The IRS used 83 other agency computers in order to scrape those messages together.