In an iteration of the Friday afternoon news dump, CBS News reported yesterday, HERE, that the Obama adminstration is claiming that most of the Lois Lerner e-mail messages from 2011 and prior have been lost due to a crash of her IRS computer workstation.
The e-mail messages would likely have been strong proof, perhaps even dispositive proof, that Lerner had a hand in the inappropriate scrutiny of many tea party groups’ applications for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status, and that some of her superiors in the Obama administration might have directed her actions. This unfortunate development will, therefore, put an end to all those complaints.
Oh, wait …
E-mails are collected on e-mail servers. Each user (e.g., Lois Lerner) has an account on an e-mail server, where that person’s e-mails are collected. It is common for e-mails to be deleted from the user’s own desktop or laptop computer, but no one worries about that. When it is time to collect e-mails – something I do all the time in my law practice – you go to the e-mail server and pull out the user’s entire account. A crash of the user’s computer is irrelevant and will not cause e-mails to be “lost.”
Further, e-mails are universally backed up in some other medium, often electronic tape, for long-term storage. Thus, even if an e-mail server is destroyed, or all e-mails are deleted from a server after a specified length of time, the e-mails are still recoverable from back-up storage media.
Next it will be that the dog ate the e-mail servers.
Although details are sketchy, the ABC News article from yesterday, HERE, had this interesting snippet:
But an untold number are gone. Camp’s office said the missing e-mails are mainly ones to and from people outside the IRS, “such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.”
If these messages had been sent via the IRS e-mail host, then they should indeed be recoverable. However, if Lerner had used her internet access to log onto her personal e-mail account, say AOL, and sent them from there, then the messages would have been on the AOL servers, and not on the IRS servers. Of course, this scenario begs the question of why Lerner would do such a thing when conducting official IRS business.
The Obama folks seem to be scrapping the bottom of the stalling tactics barrel. If the Republicans gain control of the Senate next year, I look forward to a more vigorous investigation of this, so hold your nose and vote for Thom Tillis.