IRS commissioner: You know, e-mail isn’t necessarily an “official record”; Update: IRS Manual says it is

posted at 9:21 am on June 20, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Two House committees plan to get more aggressive in the next few days in the IRS targeting scandal after finding out a week ago that the IRS only keeps six months of server backups, and that an epidemic of hard-drive failures oddly kept itself quarantined to suspects in the targeting scheme. Current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will testify this morning at the Ways and Means Committee, as well as on Monday at Oversight, on why he testified in March that the records would be retrievable, only to change course last Friday. Koskinen offered up his opening statement in writing, in part to suggest that e-mail should not be considered an “official record” anyway:

In discussing document retention at the IRS, it is important to point out that our email system is not being used as an electronic record keeping system. Furthermore, it should be remembered that not all emails on IRS servers or backup tapes qualify as an “official record,” which is defined (in 44 U.S.C. 3301) as any documentary material made or received by an agency under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation. Accordingly, our agency’s email system is not designed to preserve email. Rather, email that qualifies as “records” are printed and retained in compliance with relevant records control schedules. Individual employees are responsible for ensuring that any email in their possession that qualifies as a “record” is retained in accordance with the requirements in the Internal Revenue Manual and Document 12990 (Record Control Schedules).

That’s an odd argument to make, since federal law on record retention in other contexts explicitly require others to retain e-mail data as a record-keeping device. Earlier, I wrote about that at The Week:

The claim that the IRS recycles its backup tapes every six months is equally ludicrous. The federal government has more strict expectations for publicly held corporations. Sarbanes-Oxley regulations passed more than a decade ago specifically require retention of email data for five years, and make the kind of destruction claimed by the IRS in this instance a crime punishable by 20 years in prison.

The IRS claim raised eyebrows at the National Archives and Records Administration, which is tasked with preserving important federal records, calling itself “concerned” that a hard drive failure would wipe out two years’ worth of what should be permanent records. The IRS’s own manual made it clear that the storage of email was important enough to have permanent backups of their data. “IRS offices will not store the official recordkeeping copy of email messages that are federal records ONLY on the electronic mail system,” and even went so far as to require hard copies “for record-keeping purposes.”

The issue isn’t that some things should be kept in hard copy; it’s that the electronic copy of all e-mail is supposed to be retained for a much longer period, as well as storing important records by hard copy. That’s certainly the expectation that the federal government has of us.

Darrell Issa will have another witness testifying on Monday as well. Jennifer O’Connor, currently a White House counsel but an IRS counsel at the time of the original request for records in May 2013, will get grilled on what the IRS knew about the e-mails and when they knew it:

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa is hauling in a former IRS counsel-turned-White House attorney to testify on the disappeared Lois Lerner emails.

The California Republican on Thursday evening requested Jennifer O’Connor of the White House Counsel’s office to testify on Tuesday morning about her knowledge of the crashed hard drive of ex-IRS tax exempt chief Lerner. The IRS says the crash erased two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails just when the IRS was beginning to pull conservative social welfare groups for additional scrutiny.

O’Connor was hired on at the IRS from May 2013 to November 2013 to serve as counselor to Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. One of her primary duties was to help the IRS respond to congressional inquiries after the tea party-targeting controversy came to light. And IRS chief counsel William Wilkins told the panel during its IRS probe that O’Connor was one of two people supervising the collection of “documents relating to the committee’s requests for material.”

Issa gave the New York Times a preview of the questioning both can expect at Oversight:

“If you want them all, we’ll give them all to you,” Mr. Koskinen told the House Oversight Committee in March, though he added that doing so might take years.

Over the last week, however, the I.R.S. has said that thousands of emails associated with Ms. Lerner and six other agency employees had been destroyed because of computer crashes. Republican lawmakers responded incredulously, questioning whether the emails were truly unrecoverable and accusing the agency of a Nixonian cover-up.

They have also suggested that the disappearance of the emails violated federal record-keeping laws, setting up the likelihood of political fireworks at Friday’s hearing.

“If the I.R.S. truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the F.B.I. never got a crack at recovering files from officials claiming a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ emails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception,” Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said in a written statement on Thursday.

Today’s hearing, which is already underway, should provide a few fireworks. We’ll see if it produces yet more shifting stories from the IRS about its adherence to the law.

Update: Thanks to one reader on Twitter, we can judge Koskinen’s argument as categorically false:

The manual reference is clear, emphases mine:

1.10.3.2  (08-30-2012)
Security/Privacy

  1. Email messages are official documents and should reflect this perspective. Email communications can be offered as evidence in court and can be legally binding. Before sending an email, you must consider how it reflects on the Service’s image and take into account privacy, records management, and security factors. …

1.10.3.2.3  (07-08-2011)
Emails as Possible Federal Records 

  1. All federal employees and federal contractors are required by law to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Records must be properly stored and preserved, available for retrieval and subject to appropriate approved disposition schedules.
  2. The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:
    • Created or received in the transaction of agency business
    • Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities, or
    • Valuable because of the information they contain
  3. If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy. More information on IRS records management requirements is available at http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/Question.asp?FolderID=4&CategoryID=5 or see the Records Management Handbook, IRM 1.15.1 http://publish.no.irs.gov/IRM/P01/PDF/31421A03.PDF).
  4. An email determined to be a federal record may eventually be considered as having historical value by the National Archivist prior to disposal. Therefore, ensure that all your communications are professional in tone.
  5. Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.

Maybe Koskinen should read his own manual.


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We owe Nixon an apology…

PatriotRider on June 20, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Cummings will be crying witch hunt soon enough so that the lsm has their sound bite

lets focus on scott walker and rick perry instead
-lsm

cmsinaz on June 20, 2014 at 9:27 AM

The left had better get behind getting to the bottom of this, or they are at risk of losing something more precious to them than Barack HUSSEIN Obama: the income tax itself.

We’re getting close to the point where the people are going to be justified to take action into their own hands regarding the IRS in particular, and the federal government in general.

“When in the course of human events…”

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Somewhere there are cases where the IRS used emails against someone regarding their taxes.

albill on June 20, 2014 at 9:28 AM

So if the IRS notifies or communicates with someone via email we can ignore it?

albill on June 20, 2014 at 9:29 AM

albill on June 20, 2014 at 9:28 AM

guaranteed

cmsinaz on June 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM

But they have nothing to hide./

Guaranteed troll free thread. Indefensible.

hawkdriver on June 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Obozo’s bootlicker “You know, things that expose criminal activities by this administration shouldn’t be viewed as official records.”

Flange on June 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM

If the IRS doesn’t want to treat email as an official record then the government should stop requiring companies to retain their email for years including law firms because those are all deemed by the courts to be official records.

So kindly apply the same rule to us… and allow us to laugh at you when you subpena records… we say they’re all digital… and digital records are apparently not official and therefore not subject to retention.

Its these stupid double standards that I don’t understand… they’re so idiotic that you wonder why they even try to make it sound like it could be an argument. Why not say “I’m not giving you the records because the bubblegum fairy told me not to”… because what they’re saying is about as meaningful. Its foolish. But they get away with it because who is going to make them. And by that extraction… why not say its because of the bubblegum fairy? Again… what are you going to do if that is their argument? Exactly. They could say literally anything as their reason… and it would be as valid. They could say “I don’t answer that question after 1:24 pm on Tuesdays”… again… what can anyone do to stop that.

Absent some cooperation on the hill… congress is powerless and the president isn’t cooperating.

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM

IRS commissioner: You know, e-mail isn’t necessarily an “official record”

The fact that an IRS commissioner even say this should be ground for his dismissal for incompetence.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Somewhere there are cases where the IRS used emails against someone regarding their taxes.

albill on June 20, 2014 at 9:28 AM

There have been stories out there about the IRS monitoring social media and other similar sites for statements to use against taxpayers.

IE, if I were to say, “F the IRS, they’re never getting a dime of that 10 million I have stashed in the Caymans” it could justify an investigation if some Lois Lerner Low Level Cincinnati Operative saw it here.

(and F them, they aren’t getting a dime, because said money unfortunately doesn’t exist)

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Laws, rules, maybe for you racist repubs, but we Dimocraps , have a MUCH higher calling,…..GOD OBAMA, KNEEL BEFORE YOUR GOD!!!!!!

Offhanded on June 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Accordingly, our agency’s email system is not designed to preserve email. Rather, email that qualifies as “records” are printed and retained in compliance with relevant records control schedules. Individual employees are responsible for ensuring that any email in their possession that qualifies as a “record” is retained

Translation: Individual employees keep the records they wish to keep, and naturally any incriminating records would be destroyed as completely as possible.

Can anyone imagine a similar excuse working during an audit? Try telling the IRS that you didn’t keep records that they request. See how that works out for you! And who in their RIGHT MIND would EVER allow individual employees to determine which records to keep? Do we let a teller keep only records of bank transactions which they wish to keep?

The criminal stupidity at the IRS is stupefying.

xNavigator on June 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

The IRS flunkies know they’re safe from any prosecution because the media isn’t covering this. No one knows how far we’ve slipped into tyranny.

Capt Blasto on June 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

IRS commissioner: You know, e-mail isn’t necessarily an “official record”

And my receipts aren’t official when it comes to my taxes…

Just some electronic paper trail….

Electrongod on June 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Are the tapes from Nixon’s era official records? What the flop is wrong with these people.

And this dude here, tell me this isn’t a spitting image:

http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/12/124575/2802512-Azogcloseup.jpg

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Maybe Issa is nothing but a ‘dog and pony show’ presenter because he just needs to call up those IT guys and get to the bottom of it. Those emails are not lost, they have backups to backups servers and IF someone scrubbed those backups then its an intentional crime being committed

journeymike on June 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Well, by definition the only people who have to follow laws are law-abiding people, so that exempts the Obama Administration and their primary voter blocs in the felon and/or illegal alien departments.

JeremiahJohnson on June 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Neither are tapes recorded in the Oval Office.

Akzed on June 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

We owe Nixon an apology…

PatriotRider on June 20, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Well he certainly was a piker in comparison.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Listening to this. The IRS is so over his head technological speaking that they really need to through in the white flag. We have not even go to the questioners with IT background

ConservativePartyNow on June 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM

In the 1930′s, the IRS was used to send mob boss Al Capone to prison.

In 2010, in reaction to a political movement seen as a threat to the continued existence of an unrestrained bureaucracy and a President with aspirations to kinghood, the IRS has BECOME AL CAPONE.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM

They have permanent backups offsite. Koskinen is a LIAR. Put this crook in jail and he will squeal.

But they won’t lock anyone up. Sadly it’s just theater since they don’t have the balls to actually enforce the law.

You try telling the IRS your records don’t exist and see what happens.

Why should we obey the law, when the aristocracy does what it wants?

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM

I’m still waiting for a hardware expert to explain to me how a non-technical individual can inadvertently crash a hard drive so bad that no one can salvage the data. What exactly does it take to do that, and not once, but six times?

parke on June 20, 2014 at 9:37 AM

The IRS flunkies know they’re safe from any prosecution because the media isn’t covering this. No one knows how far we’ve slipped into tyranny.

Capt Blasto on June 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

When the government itself is no longer subject to the laws that the governed are we have a tyranny.

The United States has become a Failed State under Obama. The fundamental transformation is complete.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Live stream.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hclive09

lynncgb on June 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Take this f*ck straight to the House jail.

Midas on June 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

All people audited should remind the IRS how technologically backward they are, that their records are wrong, and they don’t have….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Hooooo boy, I crack myself up.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM

I’m still waiting for a hardware expert to explain to me how a non-technical individual can inadvertently crash a hard drive so bad that no one can salvage the data. What exactly does it take to do that, and not once, but six times?

parke on June 20, 2014 at 9:37 AM

20+ years in IT here.

What you speak of cannot happen by accident. It has to be done by deliberate action. I’ve retrieved data from hard drives from servers that have BEEN IN A FIRE before. To have this happen not just once but 6 times is the act of humans, not God.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Technically he may be right, but he may not be either. Depends if it is attached to a specific appropriation, or about an official project, or communication about an employee for performance evaluation between associate and supervisor etc.

There are numerous scenarios. NARA has a schedule just for e-mail management which discusses items just like these. NARA also does not discriminate between electronic and hard copy. Agencies can certainly place more stringent records retention rules, but they can’t relax them (without waiver) typically.

IRS sounds like they have their own set of rules, which is not surprising as people still do long-form pencil 1040s etc (lol). However, both electronic and hard copy documents have their own disposition time-frame, 2 years, 6 years 3 months etc. Or it is considered an official record which never gets destroyed.

My guess it they will hide behind these ambiguous rules and nothing will happen. We knew that anyway though.

LaughterJones on June 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Anarchy. Look at the southern border. When people see that laws won’t be enforced you get anarchy.

People will be emboldened to abandon the rule of law and either become lawless or vigilantes. The result is chaos.

Perhaps King Putt wants chaos.

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

The United States has become a Failed State under Obama. The fundamental transformation is complete.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

We haven’t had the breakup yet.

My district, about the only red district in all of MN, will have to be a version of Kurdistan. I’m going to get one of those all-purpose battle scarves, some fingerless gloves, my AK, and proclaim this district Walleyestan.

And I will be one of the Perchmerga.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

What exactly does it take to do that, and not once, but six times? parke on June 20, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Cyber tentacles.

Akzed on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Somebody send Darrell Issa the complete Sopranos series and have him binge watch this weekend.

Dongemaharu on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

This is so sleazy I feel the need to take a shower after just reading about this.

YUCK

gophergirl on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Why should we obey the law, when the aristocracy does what it wants?

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Time for tar, feathers and guillotines?

Oldnuke on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM

30 years in IT here and you are absolutely correct, but her PC and hard drive are RED HERRINGS.

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:45 AM

We haven’t had the breakup yet.

My district, about the only red district in all of MN, will have to be a version of Kurdistan. I’m going to get one of those all-purpose battle scarves, some fingerless gloves, my AK, and proclaim this district Walleyestan.

And I will be one of the Perchmerga.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

What do you think the chances are the Republic of Appalacia breaks free of DC anytime soon? Or do I need to move to Texas?

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:46 AM

This whole “email controversy” has an eerily familiar feeling… oh, yeah, this is what I was remembering.
.
C’mon Democrats, can’t you do something Dubya hasn’t been accused of? What is this, Bush’s fourth term? No wonder there is no leadership in the White House… they keep trying to emulate their sworn enemy, the stupid, evil Cowboy Bush. /s

ExpressoBold on June 20, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Perhaps King Putt wants chaos. dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Perhaps?

Same-Sex Couples to Be Eligible for Leave Under U.S. Rule

“Gay and lesbian couples in all states, including those in which they are not allowed to marry, would be eligible to take time under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a spouse, the White House said in an e-mailed statement.”

Surely, this was congress’s real intention.

Akzed on June 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM

No worries, mates. Darrell “The Closer” Issa is on the case.

bofh on June 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Oldnuke on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I wonder what percentage of the French peasantry were involved in starting their revolution? Was it the same 25% that did it here?

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM

What do you think the chances are the Republic of Appalacia breaks free of DC anytime soon? Or do I need to move to Texas?

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:46 AM

You have mountains? Stay right there, mountains are the place to be; I’ll have to rely on trackless but flat lake country to hide.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:49 AM

People will be emboldened to abandon the rule of law and either become lawless or vigilantes. The result is chaos.

Perhaps King Putt wants chaos.

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

He clearly does. He needs an excuse to take complete power.

But as we’ve seen in Egypt, Libya, and Iraq, chaos never works the way the “geniuses” that rule DC predict.

There are multiples more firearms in the hands of citizens in this country than are in the hands of government. That makes a “smooth” transition from Republic (even if in name only) to Dictatorship impossible. But Obama and the people surrounding him are bird brains…

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Levin and McDermott are seriously saying there’s nothing to see here. And this IRS commissioner is an unapologetic arrogant little pr!ck. Special Prosecutor NOW,

Naturally Curly on June 20, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Flat out criminal activity. Those emails connect the dots between the White House, Congress, and IRS and prove the their role in squashing conservative voices prior to the 2012 election. Why else come up with BS about all the hard drives crashing all at once and the emails are now gone….how convenient.

jaywemm on June 20, 2014 at 9:50 AM

The guy in the photo looks like a love child between James Carville and Orrin Hatch.

Flange on June 20, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I love how the rules can be bent, once it’s the IRS that’s screwed up.

LancerDL on June 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The guy in the photo looks like a love child between James Carville and Orrin Hatch.

Flange on June 20, 2014 at 9:50 AM

OMG, you nailed it!

Naturally Curly on June 20, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Furthermore, it should be remembered that not all emails on IRS servers or backup tapes qualify as an “official record,” which is defined (in 44 U.S.C. 3301) as any documentary material made or received by an agency under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation.

He is exactly correct. Not *all* emails are “official records”. But a bunch of those were. And they should charge everyone involved with multiple violations of the federal records retention law.

And I will be one of the Perchmerga.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Good one, Bishop.

To have this happen not just once but 6 times is the act of humans, not God.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Let’s clarify, though, that it is possible that 6 different hard drives in twoish years crashed bad enough that someone in IT just said “well, that is too hard for me to deal with”. They didn’t have to have been trashed during the ‘crash’. No one wanted to deal with the effort of recovery and they simply took the expedient route of slicking the drives.

What isn’t possible is that it happened to these six people in that two year period. (That’s aside from the RAIDing of the computer disks, and any backups they made that have now conveniently disappeared.)

GWB on June 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Akzed on June 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Yeah, you’re correct.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Yeah, you’re correct too and birds are offended by that reference!

They are not brainless, but they do live in a fantasy land inside their heads.

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

…that the IRS only keeps six months of server backups

Considering the timespan of this investigation, it would be interesting to know if the six-month limit was adopted recently. Like, six months ago or yesterday.

Tsar of Earth on June 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Somebody send Darrell Issa the complete Sopranos series a horse head in his bed and have him binge watch Godfather this weekend.

Dongemaharu on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

FIFY

GWB on June 20, 2014 at 9:57 AM

You have mountains? Stay right there, mountains are the place to be; I’ll have to rely on trackless but flat lake country to hide.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:49 AM

I am from Eastern Kentucky. Any land without hills and mountains looks funny to me.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Public servants!

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 9:58 AM

My district, about the only red district in all of MN, will have to be a version of Kurdistan. I’m going to get one of those all-purpose battle scarves, some fingerless gloves, my AK, and proclaim this district Walleyestan.

And I will be one of the Perchmerga.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Oh, you’ll have some company in other MN districts.

There’s quite a bit of red there.

climbnjump on June 20, 2014 at 9:59 AM

If the IRS doesn’t want to treat email as an official record then the government should stop requiring companies to retain their email for years including law firms because those are all deemed by the courts to be official records.

So kindly apply the same rule to us… and allow us to laugh at you when you subpena records… we say they’re all digital… and digital records are apparently not official and therefore not subject to retention.

Its these stupid double standards that I don’t understand… they’re so idiotic that you wonder why they even try to make it sound like it could be an argument. Why not say “I’m not giving you the records because the bubblegum fairy told me not to”… because what they’re saying is about as meaningful. Its foolish. But they get away with it because who is going to make them. And by that extraction… why not say its because of the bubblegum fairy? Again… what are you going to do if that is their argument? Exactly. They could say literally anything as their reason… and it would be as valid. They could say “I don’t answer that question after 1:24 pm on Tuesdays”… again… what can anyone do to stop that.

Absent some cooperation on the hill… congress is powerless and the president isn’t cooperating.

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Agreed. Private companies, especially publicly traded companies have to adhere to Sarbanes-Oxley. One of those ridiculous requirements include keeping copies of ALL emails INCLUDING those that go through devices other than what is under our own control (beyond our Exchange servers). So, if Bob has a Blackberry he uses a Yahoo.com mail account – we’re responsible.

Ludicrous.

And the IRS pulls this stunt?

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Take this f*ck straight to the House jail.

Midas on June 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Precisely! “Time to go to the mattresses. No, no, no! No more! Not this time, consiglieri. No more meetings, no more discussions.

Let’s roll!

Jayrae on June 20, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Public servants!

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Yes, they believe the public’s job is to serve THEM.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Ryan is ROASTING the IRS guy.

gonnjos on June 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM

The IRS is corrupt. And they’re now trying to perpetrate a cover up.
Criminal prosecutions should be the result.

And IRS should be dismantled and a much weaker tax collection agency formed.

Lefties love to look at Europe. This kind of crap would be a huge deal in Europe. The left wants us to believe that government is the only thing we all do together and that government can do great things for society and individuals but they reveal themselves as fascists and tyrants when they turn a blind eye to this. The fact that the only person on the left who sees this as a problem is Ron Fournier reveals the fascist tyrannical streak on the left is common.

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The republicans are doing well. For once.

Naturally Curly on June 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Agreed. Private companies, especially publicly traded companies have to adhere to Sarbanes-Oxley. One of those ridiculous requirements include keeping copies of ALL emails INCLUDING those that go through devices other than what is under our own control (beyond our Exchange servers). So, if Bob has a Blackberry he uses a Yahoo.com mail account – we’re responsible.

Ludicrous.

And the IRS pulls this stunt?

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM

When my company was under a restructuring company I learned what such high level people do in reaction to that regulation is not use e-mail at all.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM

A dog ate my e-mails
IF YOUR taxes are being audited and you tell the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that you just so happen to have lost the records relating to the period in question, you cannot expect much sympathy. The taxman has heard it all before, and “the dog ate my accounts” gets you nowhere. Odd, then, that the IRS is offering more or less exactly that excuse to Congress.

American tax law is so complex and burdensome that more and more big firms are fleeing the country for friendlier domiciles (see article). But people had assumed that the law was enforced impartially. Since the tax system relies on voluntary compliance, the IRS must be seen to be scrupulously neutral. That is tricky when it appears to have gone after conservatives (and, in a grotesque conflict of interest, anti-tax groups) after some Democratic senators had publicly suggested this would be a good idea. John Koskinen, the IRS’s boss, is to testify before Congress on June 20th. Expect fireworks.
http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21604600-more-revelations-about-taxman-dog-ate-my-e-mails

DinaRehn on June 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM

20+ years in IT here.

What you speak of cannot happen by accident. It has to be done by deliberate action. I’ve retrieved data from hard drives from servers that have BEEN IN A FIRE before. To have this happen not just once but 6 times is the act of humans, not God.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Absolutely correct. I’ve seen hard drive submerged in river water in which we were able to retrieve data.

Absolutely a cover-up.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Great post Ed.

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 10:08 AM

lsm not digging ryan going after the commissioner….

cmsinaz on June 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM

really smacks of a dod level overwrite doesn’t it.

dmacleo on June 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM

lsm not digging ryan going after the commissioner….

cmsinaz on June 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM

The IRS certainly should not be allowed a lower standard for records preservation than they demand of American Taxpayers.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM

“There are no ‘secret’ email accounts, only ‘alternate’ email addresses.” ~ Jay Carney

Who, by the way, never lies

Roy Rogers on June 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM

“There are no ‘secret’ email accounts, only ‘alternate’ email addresses.” ~ Jay Carney

Who, by the way, never lies

Roy Rogers on June 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Richard Windsor could not be reached for comment.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:18 AM

the hard drive is a feint used to hide the altered/deleted backups.
and people are falling for it.

dmacleo on June 20, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The IRS certainly should not be allowed a lower standard for records preservation than they demand of American Taxpayers.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I’d like to have that low-bar standard in my company. I’d have a few years of backups I could free up.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:19 AM

dems going with their no 1 complaint, the gop are just grandstanding at this hearing…there is no there there

cmsinaz on June 20, 2014 at 10:19 AM

The hearing – the Democrats keep trying to change the subject “You don’t have enough IT budget,” “No one hear is talking about how well the IRS is doing,” “We should be talking about your wonderful service to our country all these years,” “Why aren’t we talking about the changing the laws governing 501(c)(3)’s.”

Anything but actually asking questions about the emails, retention and hardware. Bullshit.

Walter L. Newton on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

And IRS should be dismantled and a much weaker tax collection agency formed.

Lefties love to look at Europe. This kind of crap would be a huge deal in Europe. The left wants us to believe that government is the only thing we all do together and that government can do great things for society and individuals but they reveal themselves as fascists and tyrants when they turn a blind eye to this. The fact that the only person on the left who sees this as a problem is Ron Fournier reveals the fascist tyrannical streak on the left is common.

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM

If we outlawed the income tax and replaced it with a sales tax there would be no need for individuals to prepare tax returns, nor any reason for audits. It would be a much fairer and more transparent system. Which is of course why the Democrats will never stand for it.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Hate to say it, but im starting to believe the IRS the more ive found out. Im as Conservative as they come, but I dont believe there is anything corrupt going on here. It is time to drop these investigations. They’ve given valid answers and while their back up issues exist, that has been that way for a long time.

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Furthermore, it should be remembered that not all emails on IRS servers or backup tapes qualify as an “official record,” which is defined (in 44 U.S.C. 3301) as any documentary material made or received by an agency under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation.

If the emails aren’t related to the transaction of public business, then it seems they are misusing government computers for personal affairs – also illegal.

Russ in OR on June 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

I’d like to have that low-bar standard in my company. I’d have a few years of backups I could free up.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:19 AM

We retain all our accounting and transactional records for 7 years. 6 months is a ridiculously low standard.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Excuse me while I step outside. I’ll try not to let my hysterical laughter ruin your mood.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

If the emails aren’t related to the transaction of public business, then it seems they are misusing government computers for personal affairs – also illegal.

Russ in OR on June 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

In other words there isn’t supposed to be any use of e-mail at the IRS that isn’t public business.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

If we outlawed the income tax and replaced it with a sales tax there would be no need for individuals to prepare tax returns, nor any reason for audits. It would be a much fairer and more transparent system. Which is of course why the Democrats will never stand for it.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

I’m all for a radical transformation of our system of “taxation”.

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

give your unicorn a kiss today.

dmacleo on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

And the IRS pulls this stunt?

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Pfft. They can’t tell you where tens of millions of their budget gets spent. While requiring that you show a receipt for dropping $10 in the offering plate at a church. They’ve been “pulling this stunt” for years now.

GWB on June 20, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Ok… now Tiberi (R) has gone off subject – talking about some tax payer in his district. He must be up for reelection and wants some good pull quotes to go back to his district with.

Why can’t these guys stay on topic, focus on the reason for the hearing, and stop campaigning? Talk about taxpayers Tiberi… you’re wasting the taxpayers money every minute you’re off topic and campaigning.

Walter L. Newton on June 20, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Hate to say it, but im starting to believe the IRS the more ive found out. Im as Conservative as they come, but I dont believe there is anything corrupt going on here. It is time to drop these investigations. They’ve given valid answers and while their back up issues exist, that has been that way for a long time.

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Ha ha ha.

And I’ve got some beach front property in Arizona to sell you.

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

really smacks of a dod level overwrite doesn’t it.

dmacleo on June 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM

If you assume that they are not lying then yes it does but as someone else said a PC and a single hard drive is a canard.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I’m all for a radical transformation of our system of “taxation”.

gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

The reason why I prefer a sales tax to any other form of taxation is that it is the fairest. Everyone who spends money be they a 47%-er or a 1%-er has “skin in the game”.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Hate to say it, but im starting to believe the IRS the more ive found out. Im as Conservative as they come, but I dont believe there is anything corrupt going on here. It is time to drop these investigations. They’ve given valid answers and while their back up issues exist, that has been that way for a long time.

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Hopefully you’re not fishing, I hate getting fished.

Seven people all directly connected to this debacle, all 7 have hard drive failures or the drives were lost, strangely enough all the missing data on those drives concerns the debacle.

And then of course there is the 1.2 million, as in million, pages of docs the IRS illegally sent to the FBI concerning ONLY tea party groups.

Yep, nothing going on here.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

If you assume that they are not lying then yes it does but as someone else said a PC and a single hard drive is a canard.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

We don’t put RAID on PC’s (they have a single hard drive) but we also don’t allow users to keep important data on PC’s but redirect it to the servers (which have RAID storage arrays and backups).

If we were covered under Sarbanes Oxley and had to retain everything (we are covered by some things but not the most stringent) I probably would RAID PC’s just to protect us from liability of the idiot user everyone ends up having that doesn’t use common sense.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Does the IRS have problems? Yes. And Im all for simplifying the tax code and downsizing the IRS. However, there is no conspiracy here. Especially with these emails. They’ve already received tens of thousands of emails and have found very little.

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

So 6 individual exchange server based accounts mysteriously are lost for the specific time period in question yet their data is available before and after those dates, and no other users were affected. Not bloody likely unless the exchange accounts were purged specifically and then all backup tapes recalled and purged as well.

It is only through deliberate actions that something like that can take place.

can_con on June 20, 2014 at 10:28 AM

This is where you turn off watching the committee meeting. They have really run out of questions and now are just campaigning. And now Doggett (D) from Texas is talking about aliens and Area 51.

I’m shutting down this tab on my browser. I have some articles to write.

Walter L. Newton on June 20, 2014 at 10:28 AM

You only hurt you own credibility when you claim somebody was “tasked” with something.

corona79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Hopefully you’re not fishing, I hate getting fished.

Seven people all directly connected to this debacle, all 7 have hard drive failures or the drives were lost, strangely enough all the missing data on those drives concerns the debacle.

And then of course there is the 1.2 million, as in million, pages of docs the IRS illegally sent to the FBI concerning ONLY tea party groups.

Yep, nothing going on here.

Bishop on June 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

The odds of what you describe happening the way the IRS is claiming are lower than the chance of me waking up next to Natalie Portman tomorrow morning.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:30 AM

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

The point Constantine is making here is that the relevant emails are kept on the SERVERS and NOT the pc. In our organization, we use Exchange so that you can use a different PC and still be able to access ALL of your email.

So those of you out there who are still believing in the IRS can understand our *cough* skepticism.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Does the IRS have problems? Yes. And Im all for simplifying the tax code and downsizing the IRS. However, there is no conspiracy here. Especially with these emails. They’ve already received tens of thousands of emails and have found very little.

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

That’s only because the IRS destroyed everything else.

There are better odds the Sun will go SUPERNOVA next week. That event is just as IMPOSSIBLE as what the IRS is claiming happened with these 7 people.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

If we outlawed the income tax and replaced it with a sales tax there would be no need for individuals to prepare tax returns, nor any reason for audits.

ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Even better, how about going back to collecting your revenue from the states. Then we can hold the national government in check. (And there would still be a need for audits – states do audits now of companies, related to their sales tax reporting. There are fewer, but not entirely gone.)

Im as Conservative as they come,….

bucsox79 on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

“Hi, Rush, I’m a lifelong conservative, but……”

Russ in OR on June 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM
ConstantineXI on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Not true. Personal use must be “incidental” and a lot of “work-related” emails are about the going away for Susie and announcing Jim’s retirement and don’t plug USB devices into your government computer and no more jeans on Friday and whatnot. Not every work-related email is a “record”.

Having said that, it would seem that most of the emails Lerner sent to places like the White House and other executive branch departments would DEFINITELY qualify as “records”. I doubt they were primarily of the “Hey, we’re going to that new Thai place for lunch today, want to join us?” variety. Since those are the ones that are now “lost”……..

GWB on June 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

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