We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Backups

The IRS scandal continues to be the big issue. And lots more news came out over the weekend.

First, it turns out the IRS had a contract with an email backup company, Sonasoft; their motto is “Email Archiving Done Right.” But weeks after Lois Lerner’s alleged computer crash the IRS cancelled the contract.

Meanwhile PowerLine Blog has been noting that the IRS was required to archive their emails, and this was even noted in the IRS’s Manual on Managing Electronic Records (part of the Internal Revenue Manual).

On Monday, Darrell Issa’s committee will hold another hearing on the scandal. I don’t know if Commissioner Koskinen will be as arrogant as he was on Friday (see the post immediately below), but here are some questions I’d like to see asked and some actions I’d like the committee to do:

1. Commissioner Koskinen, does the IRS follow the federal law on recordkeeping? Are you aware that most emails–and certainly all interagency emails–must be archived under this policy?

2. Are all email servers backed up (archived) regularly? Was this policy in place in 2011? In 2009? Has a search been made of these archives?

3. Are there any other hard drives that have failed that relate to this investigation (besides the seven you’ve let the committee know of in the last week)?

I’d also like to see the committee subpoena as many people as they can find in the IRS IT Department and ask them, under oath, about these issues. I’d like the committee to issue a subpoena to the Federal Election Commission to obtain their email archives; to the White House to obtain their email archives; and to the Department of Justice to see theirs. (This would be all emails from 2009-2013 to or from Lois Lerner and related principals.)

Many of my Democratic friends think this scandal is a whole lot of nothing. It is possible it’s close to that but we have no way of knowing thanks to either the IRS’s deliberate obstruction or their incredible idiocy. It has exposed the IRS as an agency whose leadership has its head in the sand, that is arrogant beyond belief, and that expects honest taxpayers to keep everything for years but won’t follow the rules themselves. Congressman Ryan didn’t believe Commissioner Koskinen on Friday. Neither do I.


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