Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) destroyed the Blackberry of Lois Lerner, the former Director of Exempt Organizations, when Congress was investigating the IRS’ alleged targeting of conservative groups in 2012.
The destruction of the smartphone and deletion of all its content, including e-mails sought by lawmakers probing the conservative targeting, was admitted by Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, in an affidavit filed in court in connection with Judicial Watch’s 2013 lawsuit against the IRS.
Judicial Watch, which disclosed Kane’s sworn statement on Monday, is asking the court to order the IRS to retrieve e-mails of Lerner that allegedly got lost when her computer crashed in June 2012, months after the congressional investigation started.
District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over the lawsuit, also had ordered the IRS to retrieve e-mails of Lerner that were lost during the crash of her computer.
“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, according to Fox News.
The revelation on the Blackberry follows Monday’s disclosure by the Judicial Watch that government computer records are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. An administration official denied the existence of a backup system.
Lerner, admitted at an American Bar Association meeting in 2012 that some organizations were targeted because of their titles or beliefs. Congress summoned her in 2013 to respond to questions about how IRS treated tax exemption applications of conservative group, but she eventually refused to testify, pleading the Fifth Amendment and voted in contempt of Congress.