Issa: Lerner, others at IRS used personal e-mail to transmit confidential taxpayer data

posted at 2:01 pm on October 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe now we know why Lois Lerner took the Fifth this summer.  Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, demanded answers from now-IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel as to why IRS agents, including Lerner, transmitted confidential taxpayer data through personal e-mail accounts:

Senior Internal Revenue Service officials—including one at the heart of the IRS “targeting” scandal—violated agency policies and possibly federal records laws by using private email to send confidential taxpayer information, the GOP-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said in a letter.

In a Sept. 30 letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel obtained by the Free Beacon, Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R., Calif.) said an investigation revealed a “troubling pattern” of at least four top IRS officials using their private email addresses to relay confidential tax information.

“This not only raises the prospect of violations of the Federal Records Act but it also raises data security concerns and violates internal IRS policies,” Issa wrote to Werfel.

The committee discovered the emails while investigating the ongoing IRS scandal that began earlier this year when an official admitted that the agency targeted conservative groups during the 2012 election.

Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS’ tax-exempt division at the heart of the scandal, is one of the officials named in Issa’s letter.

Lerner is actually one of four IRS officials who sent such data over personal e-mail accounts, according to Issa’s letter.  The others include Werfel’s predecessor Douglas Shulman, who stepped down last year, and a senior technical adviser in Lerner’s Exempt Organization Division, Judith Kendall.  Kendall didn’t disclose that fact during the initial discovery period in Oversight’s probe, and Issa declares that to indicate the IRS’ general lack of cooperation in the probe:

“According to the IRS, you did not inform the IRS that you had such documents housed in your non-official email,” Issa wrote. “The discovery of these documents suggest that you were not forthcoming to the IRS about documents related the Committee’s investigation in your personal possession.”

Issa said the committee’s findings suggest “such use is a systemic problem throughout the IRS.”

So far, the attitude of being above the law seems to be a continuing theme in this investigation.

As C.J. Ciaramella points out, these transmissions would violate both IRS regulations and federal law on their own.  There is also the issue of obstructing Congress by not providing this data under the original subpoenas, which adds felony charges if Oversight decides to pursue them — and Issa isn’t likely to be terribly forgiving on that point.  All of these would have to be prosecuted through the Department of Justice, however, and it’s far from clear that Eric Holder will cooperate with Congress on this probe.  So far, no one’s heard much from the FBI since the early summer admission that they hadn’t even begun talking with witnesses on the scandal.

The other option is to get a special prosecutor for this case — and that’s increasingly becoming the least-bad choice.


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Let’s hope she gets fired… oh, wait.

Jeddite on October 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Shouldn’t they be using something like X.509 certificates and encryption when sending confidential data? Someone needs to go to prison, starting with Ms. Lerner.

Ward Cleaver on October 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

We all know who set this in motion…that’s why the State Run Media is ignoring it. This could hurt Dear Leader..!

d1carter on October 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

So the DOJ will arrest Lerner….when exactly? This is the FBI’s jurisdiction, yes?

Hello? Holder? Helllooooooo? *tumbleweeds*

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Issa needs to push this NOW NOW NOW!

Everything needs to come to a head NOW – ISSA SHOULD NOT SLEEP UNTIL HE’S DONE THIS!

With the shutdown and Ogabe taking a black eye there – we need to hit him from all sides so that his dullard advisory team has too many issues to even properly articulate themselves on one.

The Dim narrative on the shutdown and debt ceiling WILL IMPLODE if we do that – and the Dims will BEG to negotiate!

HondaV65 on October 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

So far, the attitude of being above the law seems to be a continuing theme in this investigation administration.

FIFY, Ed.

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM

This is %100 for show.

Issa is not doing anything.

What McConnell said in the closed door meet about conservatives is the reality.

The GOP leadership dislike the tea party just as much as Obama does. McConnell called Freedomworks and the Senate Conservatives Fund traitors.

That explains why the GOP has done nothing to pursue this IRS matter. If the IRS could break up the grassroots conservative movement if benefited them as well.

tetriskid on October 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

All of these would have to be prosecuted through the Department of Justice, however, and it’s far from clear that Eric Holder will cooperate with Congress on this probe.

Not clear? Of course they won’t. But what’s the statute of limitations? Oh, who am I kidding, that doesn’t mater either.

Fenris on October 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

So what are you, Issa and the gop, going to do about it?

Answer…nothing absolutely nothing.

bgibbs1000 on October 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Whatever. It’s not like they were sending around anyone’s confidential healthcare information.

steebo77 on October 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM

we’re more comfortable with Obama wielding this sort of power because he seems a hell of a lot more effective and responsible with it.

urban elitist on February 8, 2012

I can admit when I’m wrong. Again, if there was a coverup, I’d be the first one to ask for heads to roll.

Although, one can say it was a witchhunt but still that there was a coverup. Its interesting there was no congressional hearings during bush’s 2 terms.

nonpartisan on May 8, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I’m sure the most transparent and accountable administration in Earth’s history will get right on this.

gwelf on October 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Can someone…anyone….please prosecute this witch already?!?!

Can someone with more legal expertise than myself please tell me how this woman is ever going to be punished for her behavior?

FlyNavy on October 8, 2013 at 2:14 PM

No one will be held accountable. No one is ever held accountable in this administration.

sadatoni on October 8, 2013 at 2:16 PM

That’s it. We now need the names of those responsible for protecting this treasonous pig. They’re her collaborators and deserve the same charges brought against them.
These are the real enemies of this great country. They need to be tracked down and brought to justice.

onomo on October 8, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Honestly folks, and let me be clear, it’s really not Fascism when we do it.

Check the memo…..

98ZJUSMC on October 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Can’t hardly wait until these people are sending our medical records via personal e-mail.

Galt2009 on October 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

“I have not done anything wrong, I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee,” Lerner told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members.

Lucy! You got some splainin’ to do!

antipc on October 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

The other option is to get a special prosecutor for this case — and that’s increasingly becoming the least-bad choice.

I agree.

Then after they’re convicted, let’s see if Obama has the stones to pardon them.

Bitter Clinger on October 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

She should be doing 10-20.

claudius on October 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

“I have not done anything wrong, I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee,” Lerner told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members.

The revolutionary committee does not care what you think you’ve done.

claudius on October 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Soon, they will be using their personal email accounts to transmit the health information of those who do not agree with their progressive political position.
Obama and Holder look forward to the day when they can exploit their enemies’ health data, thanks to the Unaffordable Care Act.
It is bizarro time once again.

maryo on October 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Maybe someone can get Lois to go jogging in a National Park. That’s likely to be the only way she’ll get arrested for anything.

Could an investigation possibly move more slowly than this one???

natasha333 on October 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Lerner is actually one of four IRS officials who sent such data over personal e-mail accounts, according to Issa’s letter. The others include Werfel’s predecessor Douglas Shulman, who stepped down last year, and a senior technical adviser in Lerner’s Exempt Organization Division, Judith Kendall.

Lerner, Shulman, Kendall. Okay, who’s the fourth IRS official?

BuckeyeSam on October 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

So what are you, Issa and the gop, going to do about it?

Answer…nothing absolutely nothing.

bgibbs1000 on October 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Yes. Boner, McConnell and the other RINOs have decided we are the enemy so nothing will be done. Fact is, THEY are the enemy. They are no better than the socialists.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Until Lerner & Co. are wearing orange jump suits and serving time in a federal penn., I will not believe enough is being done to fix what is broken.

VibrioCocci on October 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Lerner is an anti-Christian bigot. I’d love to see her locked up.

boko fittleworth on October 8, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Eric Holders to-do-list;

sue AZ over imigration law
sue NC over voter ID law
sue TX over voter ID law
sue LA over school vouchers
investigate IRS

antipc on October 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

There would be nothing better than seeing her testify in a jumpsuit and handcuffs.

Tater Salad on October 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Someone needs to go to jail Ben

neyney on October 8, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Unless someone is going to jail, this means nothing. There’s no way Holder’s Justice Department will ever prosecute anyone government official who abused his authority as long as the goal was to advance the liberal cause and/or hurt the conservative one.

Iblis on October 8, 2013 at 2:38 PM

So the DOJ will arrest Lerner….when exactly? This is the FBI’s jurisdiction, yes?

Hello? Holder? Helllooooooo? *tumbleweeds*

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I would like to see some state AG’s and take some action. The states are still sovereign, and the AG’s have a duty to protect the citizens of their states.

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The regime is truly lucky these days:

IG That Watchdogs IRS–And Uncovered Targeting of Tea Party–’Shut Down’
(CNSNews.com)
— While the Treasury Department has continued its basic operations since the government “shutdown” last Tuesday–collecting tens of billions in taxes and spending even more–the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which conducts audits and investigations of the IRS, and which uncovered the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups, has been “shut down.”

Galt2009 on October 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

The others include Werfel’s predecessor Douglas Shulman, who stepped down last year

I thought he got “fired.”

Happy Nomad on October 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

I thought he got “fired.”

Happy Nomad on October 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

The O’ admin doesn’t fire thugs, they promote them.

antipc on October 8, 2013 at 2:44 PM

violations of the Federal Records Act

obstructing Congress

which adds felony charges if Oversight decides to pursue them

Prosecute them!!

All of these would have to be prosecuted through the Department of Justice

Oh. Crap. Well, never mind then.

iurockhead on October 8, 2013 at 2:44 PM

The other option is to get a special prosecutor for this case — and that’s increasingly becoming the least-bad choice.

Seriously? This has been the only choice from the beginning as I have said before. There is a zero possibility of the DOJ even acknowledging this case, let alone investigating it. The FBI has been told to stand down on anything relating to F&F, Benghazi and the IRS scandal.

Johnnyreb on October 8, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Is the AG the only authority that can bring charges? I read almost daily of laws being allegedly broken, yet no indictments. If Holder is the only avenue for legal action against these criminals, we’re screwed. Also points out a major flaw in the system: if the top cop is the only one that can bring charges and the top cop’s crooked…seriously, are there any legal types out there that can answer this?

Texican on October 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Shouldn’t they be using something like X.509 certificates and encryption when sending confidential data? Someone needs to go to prison, starting with Ms. Lerner.

Ward Cleaver on October 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I don’t know what policy the IRS has in place, but with DOD if you send PII unencrypted your in trouble. First time a letter of reprimand for civilians, if you do it twice, your fired.

Johnnyreb on October 8, 2013 at 2:55 PM

To rep D.Issa,

Where is this going?!? I was fired up by the first round of hearings, your seeming determination and Gowdy’s passion. Now, I feel like I was duped – That it was a big show to get BoxHeads like me on board with the republicans. But nutin’ and nada so far. Every slime-ball that you reeled in is now off the hook, getting huge pensions or paid leave – probably promises of big money ‘contract’ work for their obedience.

I thought those IRS punks were insane , the way they were laughing at the process. It seemed like they were making it worse for themselves, like when a defendant acts surely to the judge.
WRONG!
Now, I know that they were not insane, that they knew exactly what was going on. They knew they were untouchable. My only question now is about you and your intentions(Issa). Are you also laughing at the dopes who thought this was going somewhere or are you as mad as we are?

No more of these ‘revelations’ that lead nowhere. Explain yourself.

BoxHead1 on October 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

I had really high hopes for Issa but he has Chairmanship has been an EPIC FAIL.

Benghazi – FAIL.
F & F – FAIL.
IRS – FAIL.
Solyndra – FAIL.

Issa a LAUGHINGSTOCK…He needs to be replaced by Gowdy.

LordMaximus on October 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

surely surly

BoxHead1 on October 8, 2013 at 3:06 PM

The Dim narrative on the shutdown and debt ceiling WILL IMPLODE if we do that – and the Dims will BEG to negotiate!

HondaV65 on October 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

You voted for Obama, suck it up.

slickwillie2001 on October 8, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Send this B!T@H to JAIL already!

Do NOT pass ‘Go’, Do NOT collect $200 – or that MASSIVE 6-Digit Retirment check a year….Go DIRECTLY to JAIL!

easyt65 on October 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM

If you think this is bad, just wait until it’s our confidential medical information.

rbj on October 8, 2013 at 3:34 PM

The other choice is to get a state prosecutor in a jurisdiction that has some standing to open a grand jury investigation, and start handing out subpoenas in volume loads. At that point the Justice Department will try to hijack the case, but a state prosecutor with an ongoing investigation (when the Feds have for so long done nothing at all) will have a great opportunity to retain control of any prosecution, wouldn’t you say?

MTF on October 8, 2013 at 3:35 PM

No mention of whether such email was encrypted, either. It’s bad enough to use private email, but if the email was also unencrypted….

I wish the media as a whole had a clue about such things. It seems they haven’t even asked the question.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

While everyone is quick calling Issa a failure, please remember he has no authority to do more than investigate. Given the DOJ would be the one to prosecute his hands are tied. What he is trying to do is build enough of a case to force a independent prosecutor; which this administration will resist.

Tater Salad on October 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM

The IRS public affairs office is closed due to the ongoing government shutdown, so the agency was not available for comment.

Well, that’s an incentive for Obama to leave the government shut down…

As reported by the Free Beacon, the Environmental Protection Agency has also been under investigation for using private email accounts for official business.

Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used her home email address to correspond with a lobbyist, and she also maintained a secondary government account under the alias “Richard Windsor.” Several other top EPA administrators were discovered to have used private email as well.

The agency’s inspector general released a report last month finding top-level employees did not intentionally try to skirt records law, but it found the agency was not adequately training employees on record-keeping practices.

I have to call BS on this. There is no way they haven’t been told that using private email violates government record-keeping laws. To claim it was just inadequate training raises questions about the credibility of the IG report.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 8, 2013 at 4:02 PM

All of these would have to be prosecuted through the Department of Justice, however, and it’s far from clear that Eric Holder will cooperate with Congress on this probe. So far, no one’s heard much from the FBI since the early summer admission that they hadn’t even begun talking with witnesses on the scandal.

The other option is to get a special prosecutor for this case — and that’s increasingly becoming the least-bad choice.

Why not just solve the source of the problem. By this time, there’s plenty of evidence that Eric Holder needs to be impeached and removed from office.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

All your data are belong to us:

Should you decide to apply for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the information you supply in your application will be used to determine whether you are eligible for health and dental coverage offered through Maryland Health Connection and for insurance affordability programs. It also may be used to assist you in making a payment for the insurance plan you select, and for related automated reminders or other activities permitted by law. We will preserve the privacy of personal records and protect confidential or privileged information in full accordance with federal and State law. We will not sell your information to others. Any information that you provide to us in your application will be used only to carry out the functions of Maryland Health Connection. The only exception to this policy is that we may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-marketplace-personal-data-can-be-used-law-enforcement-and-audit-activities_762237.html

davidk on October 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Any information that you provide to us in your application will be used only to carry out the functions of Maryland Health Connection. The only exception to this policy is that we may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-marketplace-personal-data-can-be-used-law-enforcement-and-audit-activities_762237.html

davidk on October 8, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Would not the individuals or organizations whose information was transmitted in this way have standing to bring some kind of suit?

TexasDan on October 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

The other choice is to get a state prosecutor in a jurisdiction that has some standing to open a grand jury investigation, and start handing out subpoenas in volume loads. At that point the Justice Department will try to hijack the case, but a state prosecutor with an ongoing investigation (when the Feds have for so long done nothing at all) will have a great opportunity to retain control of any prosecution, wouldn’t you say?

MTF on October 8, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I wonder if the taxpayers whose info was compromised have been notified. Would they have grounds for a civil suit?

CJ on October 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM

I had really high hopes for Issa but he has Chairmanship has been an EPIC FAIL.

Benghazi – FAIL.
F & F – FAIL.
IRS – FAIL.
Solyndra – FAIL.

Issa a LAUGHINGSTOCK…He needs to be replaced by Gowdy.

LordMaximus on October 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

This is a feature not a bug.

Issa is just there to send some faxes every now and then and provide some cover for Boehner / Obama.

Good cop / Bad cop.

tetriskid on October 8, 2013 at 4:29 PM

What did they send, and to whom? Inquiring minds want to know!

mel23059 on October 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Then after they’re convicted, let’s see if Obama has the stones to pardon them.

Bitter Clinger on October 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

What stones?

Lil barry will (supposedly) be outgoing in 2017 – and can pardon anyone he wants. No stones required.

Solaratov on October 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

violated agency policies and possibly federal records laws

WH waivers forthcoming.

socalcon on October 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Getting that crook Holder involved is the last thing you’d want to do.

GarandFan on October 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM

…so…what’s going to happen?

KOOLAID2 on October 8, 2013 at 7:48 PM

I smell a promotion coming! Senior IRS managers will decide that she at least tried to hide information and deceive Congress, and that kind of loyalty can’t go unrewarded.

in_awe on October 8, 2013 at 7:59 PM