“Recycled” hard drive at the FEC too?

posted at 8:41 am on July 15, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The lesson of Watergate has not gone unheeded in the federal bureaucracy even more than forty years later. At the time, many wondered why Richard Nixon didn’t burn the tapes as investigators circled the White House. These days, the trick is to burn the e-mails, and it’s not just happening at the IRS. A probe into Hatch Act violations at the Federal Election Commission ran aground when the electronic communications of the suspect — a former colleague of Lois Lerner — had her computer hard drive “recycled.”

Sound familiar?

The Federal Election Commission recycled the computer hard drive of April Sands — a former co-worker of Lois Lerner’s — hindering an investigation into Sands’ partisan political activities, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Sands resigned from the Federal Election Commission in April after she admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activities on federal time and at federal facilities.

The twist is that Sands also worked under Lois Lerner when the ex-IRS agent — who is currently embroiled in a scandal over the targeting of conservative political groups — worked at the FEC’s enforcement division.

The FEC has a far-reaching mandate into the operations of elections, which means that partisanship in that agency is particularly corrosive. The Hatch Act requires strict neutrality of all federal employees while on duty, and one would expect that to be particularly observed in the FEC. Instead, Sands tweeted partisan messages from her office in 2012; sent out fundraising pleas for Obama’s re-election campaign, called Republicans her “enemy,” and said they should shut up and “stand down.”

When the Inspector General came knocking, however, the evidence had vanished. The FEC “recycled” her hard drive, which meant that criminal charges could not be pursued. How exactly could this have happened? Sands was under suspicion of a crime under a statute which would be updated later that year, in a bill signed by Barack Obama himself. Shouldn’t the FEC have taken steps to secure evidence rather than destroy it?

House Oversight chair Darrell Issa also notes in his letter to FEC chair Lee Goodman that the destruction of evidence may have impacted his committee’s probe into the IRS, noting Lerner’s penchant for keeping in touch with former staffers such as Sands at the FEC, where Lerner worked before moving to the IRS. Given the political nature of Lerner’s work and Sands’ flagrant flaunting of the Hatch Act, there may at least have been the possibility of some coordination between Lerner and Sands, which thanks to the epidemic of hard-drive destruction in the Obama administration will now be lost.

Issa now wants Goodman to produce all of the data surrounding the destruction of evidence at the FEC, and wants it by July 28th. How many more hard drives will get “recycled” at the FEC between then and now? The sky’s the limit in the Obama administration.


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Schadenfreude

Bmore on July 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Nothing to see here…all made up for political reasons. And racist reasons. And jingoistic reasons. And in a futile attempt to save America from the foreign born philosophy known as communism.

DWoDiego on July 15, 2014 at 12:57 PM

EVERYONE involved in the disappearance of the emails and hard drives should be charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, destruction of government property, destruction of evidence, failure to maintain official government records, and anything else along those lines.

dentarthurdent on July 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM

dentarthurdent on July 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I agree, but all of that depends on a DoJ and an AG who is competent, acknowledges and supports the rule of law, and isn’t led by a racist ideologue who believes that the rule of law is flexible in its enforcement.

Athos on July 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM

This is joke. I don’t believe this excuse would work if we had an opposition party. Enough with these fake hearings. If they can beat Issa by continually, ludicrously, absurdly claiming hard drive crashes and all Issa can do is write a letter then THEY HAVE WON!

Can’t they drag up the little IT people who junked the drives and lost the information? Can’t they publicize this and make the media cover it? The republicans can coordinate and shape a narrative. Look, the republicans did a good job convincing MS blacks that McDaniel was racist. And the republicans did a good job getting the media(even conservative) to back the gang of 8 disaster. The republicans did a good job marginalizing Sarah Palin. They also did a good job getting Murkowski over the finish line. THey did a great job trashing Ted Cruz and theyve done a bang up job of defending the legality of 0bama’s administration. Now, why don’t they sink some money, expertise and time into exposing/promoting the lunacy of all these lost drives/mails? Maybe because that’s not their goal. Obama’s demise is not the GOPe’s mission. Keeping the gravy train running on time is the GOPes mission.

I’m not sure if Issa and Co are running a sham operation but right now I’m leaning that way. These hearings are looking like kabuki.

BoxHead1 on July 15, 2014 at 1:17 PM

So where’s the media on this? Pimping for this mess of an administration? It appears there is no bottom to this Obama/Democrat cessspool, probably the dirt will be coming out for years. What trash!

arand on July 15, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Surreal is the word.For the young people, corruption is not new but the braziness, the outright in the open lying and mocking of the law <— this is new. The biggest change I've seen politically is that the politicians don't need to pretend as much anymore since the law and the citizenry have become toothless/shameless. Believe me, it wasn't always this bad.

BoxHead1 on July 15, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Issa is obviously a RACIST!

RedManBlueState on July 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Why aren’t people in JAIL yet!!!

RedManBlueState on July 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM

I agree, but all of that depends on a DoJ and an AG who is competent, acknowledges and supports the rule of law, and isn’t led by a racist ideologue who believes that the rule of law is flexible in its enforcement.

Athos on July 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Oh of course.
What I said SHOULD happen.
I don’t seriously expect that it will.
Our government is now officially above and beyond the law.

dentarthurdent on July 15, 2014 at 1:43 PM

When the Inspector General came knocking, however, the evidence had vanished. The FEC “recycled” her hard drive, which meant that criminal charges could not be pursued. How exactly could this have happened? Sands was under suspicion of a crime under a statute which would be updated later that year, in a bill signed by Barack Obama himself. Shouldn’t the FEC have taken steps to secure evidence rather than destroy it?

It’s called “conspiracy” and it is SOP for fascist government goons.

earlgrey on July 15, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Issa is a joke.

Feeble.

This man talks a lot and that’s about it.

I start to think it is all a show.

Sherman1864 on July 15, 2014 at 9:07 PM

The horror of this to me, as a former career detective, is the absolute disregard for the rule of law FOR THEM. This distinct splitting of rules is beyond the ol’ boys network we all came to expect.

Sure Ted Kennedy can get drunk and manhandled a woman with another senator and not get arrested. He’s a Senator. That’s just the way its been forever. Don’t like it, wouldn’t do it, but that’s big league politics.

However, we are talking about regular government workers. People who are just like us EXCEPT they work for the feds. People across America complain about how the police would protect the police. They protest, start riots, burn city blocks.

This is nothing like that. This is a thousand times worse because these people are protecting themselves by committing further criminal acts. And everybody knows it! Like the VA middle management across the nation all partook in falsifying records in order to make bonuses- killing people in the process- and we all just stare. Nobody is in jail. Nobody is fired. No riots in the streets.

Here, we have lawyers committing federal obstruction of justice- a crime you go to federal prison over- and we see a collective yawn by both the MSM, public and politicians. If you remember, there is a case right now about steroids and baseball where a player is being ruined and possibly jailed. Over baseball!!!!

Here we have cases involving the violation of Constitutional rights, and the lawyers are getting away with it because they are arrogant enough to break the law and dare someone to do anything.

No rule of law, no nation. No rule of law, no respect for government. This is a dangerous place to push your citizens. And they do it grinning and laughing. They are daring us to do something about it.

Fools. It must be the French in them.

archer52 on July 16, 2014 at 8:01 AM

If any of you watched the excellent mini series “Fargo” with Billy Bob Thorton, you’ll get the point I’m making here.

Thorton’s character, Lorne Malvo, was a sociopath who as some point in his life realized he could break any law of society he wanted, as long as he was willing to pay the price for it if caught.

His philosophy infected the people he encounter, including one milktoast fellow by the name of Lester, who began to test the limits and discovered Malvo was right.

Here, we have federal employees, whom I guarantee with Obama and Holder in charge, are saying out loud- “What are they going to do to me?” when committing the crimes.

They are right. It won’t be them, it will be us. Eventually, their offenses will be so egregious people will react to them, and not in a good way. Think a Prohibition agent in the Appalachians around 1920 something.

Being a federal employee is a privilege. Not a reward for bad behavior.

archer52 on July 16, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Comment pages: 1 2