Editorial: Incompetence or corruption?

However you classify the 'lost' IRS e-mails, it reeks of partisanship

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By now, Americans know the Internal Revenue Service unjustly scrutinized conservative organizations that applied for tax-exempt status.

Lerner  AP
AP
Lerner

By now, Americans know the IRS division responsible for this was headed by Lois Lerner, a career bureaucrat who has since retired from the agency and has refused to cooperate with investigators per her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

By now, Americans should know who else was involved in this wretched conspiracy to use the force of the federal government to bludgeon political opponents. But we don’t.

That’s because the key evidence that would reveal this has – conveniently, coincidentally – been “lost” by the IRS.

Yes, the agency notoriously unforgiving to taxpayers who can’t produce documentation now says two years’ worth of Lerner’s e-mails – evidence it had promised to deliver to congressional investigators for the past year – supposedly were destroyed by a hard-drive glitch in 2011.

Oh, and one other thing: The backup tapes for those files have since been erased.

One can almost picture an IRS official telling Congress: “Oops, sorry! I guess there’s nothing else to show you. Are we done with your ‘investigation’ now?”

The IRS made the disclosure late Friday – perfect timing for the weekend news dump.

Worse, the IRS announced Tuesday that they can’t locate sensitive e-mails from six more staffers at the agency.

This is beyond farcical. We won’t apologize for belaboring the point, because this is a point that deserves belaboring.

After all, we are talking about the IRS, an entity whose entire reason for being hinges on data collection and record retention, an entity that can pull up sensitive and detailed information on any taxpayer within a few keystrokes.

Yet somehow it irrevocably and irretrievably loses an entire two years’ worth of data?

And not just any data – employee e-mails.

And not just any employee emails – the e-mails of seven employees, including a top administrator.

And not just any top administrator – Lois Lerner.

And not just any of Lerner’s e-mails, but e-mails she specifically sent to recipients outside the agency between 2009 and 2011, the precise period her division was singling out conservative groups for extra scrutiny. They’re the very e-mails that would have shown who directed her, whom she directed, and which other agencies were involved.

“Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Sorry, we’re calling balderdash on this one.

The IRS has groused that more than 250 of its employees have spent more than 120,000 hours to produce documents for investigators at a cost of nearly $10 million, figures that were breathlessly parroted by the major networks that gave scant coverage to the story over the weekend.

Could they not have taken a moment to ask the IRS why it can produce every Lerner document except those most germane to the investigation?

It’s worth reminding people that some of Lerner’s e-mails that weren’t “lost” show the IRS coordinated its targeting with the Justice Department and shared information with congressional Democrats. They also show Lerner joking about leaving the agency to take a job with President Obama’s “Organizing for Action” political group.

One can only imagine what was in the e-mails that have supposedly disappeared.

The case of the evaporated emails is either an accident, or it’s not. If it’s an accident, it’s gross incompetence, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. If it’s not an accident, then it’s corruption, and more than just a smidgen of corruption.

Americans of all political stripes should be concerned – no, horrified – at the blatantly partisan use of a monolithic federal agency to silence political dissent. This entire affair reads like a chapter torn from a banana republic’s playbook.

Right now it’s conservatives that the government is attempting to muzzle. If America allows this to stand, who’s next? And where does it end?

Do we want to live in a society in which federal employees, from top administrators on down to the rank-and-file, swear their allegiance to whichever regime is in charge? Do we want nameless, faceless and untouchable bureaucrats making decisions about our lives based on their political whims?

The next president, whoever it is, should make de-politicizing the federal government a top priority.

In the meantime, it appears the Kabuki theater will continue on Capitol Hill. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has told Congress more than 1 million documents have yet to be produced.

“At this rate,” replied House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., “the IRS’ response to the committee’s subpoena will drag on for years.”

Sounds like a strategy to us.

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seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 06/18/14 - 05:00 am
9
2
Unbelievable

Jail time needed here.

freeradical
1052
Points
freeradical 06/18/14 - 05:39 am
9
2
NSA's Copy

I'm sure the NSA would not mind supplying their copy of this

witch wolf's communications .

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/18/14 - 05:58 am
9
3
Que the usual sycophantic
Unpublished

Que the usual sycophantic supporters.

carcraft
25080
Points
carcraft 06/18/14 - 06:06 am
11
1
I just can't think of much to

I just can't think of much to say. I would love for the fat bloated useless piece of dog vomit running the IRS and his slimy slug trail supporters to get fired or demoted to toilet cleaners in a federal prison.

carcraft
25080
Points
carcraft 06/18/14 - 06:07 am
10
1
Obama is even more useless!

Obama is even more useless!

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/18/14 - 06:14 am
10
3
The claim that 2 years of
Unpublished

The claim that 2 years of email is a most insulting lie. 18 minutes of missing tape forced the resignation of the President. We can only hope and pray that at least that much justice is served....but I doubt it.

Riverman1
81517
Points
Riverman1 06/18/14 - 06:33 am
9
1
Just A Little Delete Button Mistake

Let’s see to erase all the emails a special code would have to be entered known only to a few people. Special keys would next have to be inserted by two different people at the same time and turned precisely at the same moment as the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background on a special device hit the word “free.” Down the hall the special buttons on the floor would have to be tapped by three IRS bureaucrats in synch while they called on the phone to verify the deletion of files. The computers used would then have to be thrown into trash compactors and driven with armed guards to a land filled unknown to anyone without a top secret clearance.

This wasn't kabuki, it was burlesque.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 06:53 am
10
1
Well this is the transparency

Well this is the transparency we've been hearing about because it is completely transparent this is an intentionally cover up and now should be charged with obstruction of justice and then prosecute them as guilty because the convicting evidence has been destroyed has to be intentional.

jack234
719
Points
jack234 06/18/14 - 07:09 am
1
16
At this point, what

At this point, what difference does it make? Look like to me the other side just decided to play the same game as was established from the get-go. Remember: "Our main mission is to make this president a one term president" When you are backed into a corner, when all odds are against you - you come out fighting. Things could have went a lot smoother from the start - but that was not in the cards. So much more could have been accomplished. From the start, there were members in congress that were bitter at the win - and they remain bitter, after the second win- double bitter. Hillary is waiting in the wings, triple bitter.

carcraft
25080
Points
carcraft 06/18/14 - 07:21 am
10
1
LOL , Learner took over 1

LOL , Learner took over 1 million tax records of conservatives to the FBI to try to get the FBI to investigate the conservatives. Now Jack toot toot suppose Bush had targeted a million toot toot liberals and their groups toot! The opposition always tries to make a sitting president one term. Remember to fake National Guard documents on 60 min about George Bush?

Riverman1
81517
Points
Riverman1 06/18/14 - 07:21 am
11
1
Hillary is wearing those

Hillary is wearing those special glasses for those who are brain damaged. Bill confirmed it.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 07:35 am
8
2
1.Commission on the

1.Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction
2.Medicare Prescription Drug Bill Vote Scandal, 2003
3.Memogate
4.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9-11 Commission)
5.Valerie Plame
6.Weapons of mass destruction investigation
All Dem investigations of GW Bush-which I guess were all phony scandals and what difference would have made-just a waste of time by those evil bad Dems. Jack toot, toot, toot has demonstrated his mentality years ago-quite comical though. Yeah Toot Obama had both houses of Congress and didn't do squat.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/18/14 - 07:41 am
11
1
"When you are backed into a
Unpublished

"When you are backed into a corner, when all odds are against you - you come out fighting."

But they didn't come out fighting. They came out lying and breaking the law.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 07:42 am
10
2
Jack is a great example of

Jack is a great example of the Obama supporter. Toot, toot, toot. That's the mentality. Our country is doomed. The failure of our education system has produced this perfect storm of stupidity that manifest itself in the progressive movement.

Fundamental_Arminian
1833
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 06/18/14 - 07:45 am
12
1
It's time to abolish the IRS

It's time to abolish the IRS and switch to a consumption tax. The current tax code is a massive headache, and the IRS has been hopelessly corrupted by its massive power.

Bodhisattva
5880
Points
Bodhisattva 06/18/14 - 07:51 am
2
13
Maybe the editorial staff can help with my search

I've searched "lost e-mails", "lost e-mail", lost+e-mails, and lost+emails, yeat the only editorial I can locate on the Chronicle search engine regarding anything political is this one. Surely, if there were to be missing e-mails from any other time period it would raise the ire of the editorial staff and we would get just as an intense reaction from the Chronicle as we do here. Especially if it could have been up to as many as 22 MILLION e-mails that linked to the highly illegal Jack Abramoff scandal and the crooked firing of US Attorneys and the history and guilty parties responsible for the false pretenses that led us to war in Iraq? No, a fake IRS scandal where 100% political groups were trying to scam their way into filing as "social welfare organizations" so they don't have to reveal their donors and realized they were about to get caught and called in their loyal crooked Congressmen to the rescue gets the editorial. What a stinking joke of a "newspaper". Again we get the propaganda and fake outrage of the far right while again and again they've ignored real scandals from the right. I haven't been reading daily but have you gotten around to blaming Obama for pulling all of our troops out of Iraq yet? If not, I'm sure it's coming. Be sure to include: The U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, signed December 12, 2008 by President George W. Bush, stating: "All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011." Just in case it's come up or you intend on trying to do the usual and blame Obama. those pesky facts keep getting in the way. I guess you're proud to in the same company as Fox. Right wing spin and propaganda 100% of the time. That fine, your readership, just like their audience doesn't have the sense to know the difference and won't take the time to look up the truth. Even when they look up something is on a garbage site like Breitbart, WND, Newsmax, or another site whose sole purpose is to defraud those weak of mind. It works well.

ymnbde
9535
Points
ymnbde 06/18/14 - 07:55 am
9
2
Jackie Robinson didn't get four strikes

it is racism in its purest form
to not hold this president to the same standards as
previous Presidents
the irs did not lose the emails
and the claim that they did proves
this scandal goes up to O
only his useful O'diots can support him now

gaflyboy
4620
Points
gaflyboy 06/18/14 - 07:57 am
10
1
Arrest Lerner ...

and the 6 others who lost their records!

The Federal Records Act requires that a hard copy be kept. Apparently, they are saying they didn't do that either.

http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/17/irs-was-required-by-law-to-print-out-l...

dichotomy
31719
Points
dichotomy 06/18/14 - 08:09 am
9
2
I see Techfan...err Bod is

I see Techfan...err Bod is just making up stuff again. Gee Bod, you really had to reach way down in the bag of Irrelevant for that crap didn't you.

Would you care to discuss THIS INCIDENT of THIS ADMINISTRATION using the IRS to HARASS AND INTIMIDATE political opponents.

Would you care to discuss how many LIBERAL organizations who were formed for the same purposes were APPROVED immediately for the same exemption for which the CONSERVATIVE organizations were denied, delayed, and harassed?

Yeh, I thought not.

SGT49
1812
Points
SGT49 06/18/14 - 08:11 am
8
1
There are five vacancies at

There are five vacancies at Gitmo that need filling.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 08:16 am
10
1
Bod there is a big difference

Bod there is a big difference Jack Abramoff is in prison and that crime was prosecuted. Likely no one will go to prison for this crime which should make you furious.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 08:18 am
8
1
Jack I like when Hillary was

Jack I like when Hillary was asked, in those tough interviews you were talking about , about her best achievement and she drew a blank. But then covered with "What difference does it make now". LOL.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 06/18/14 - 08:22 am
9
2
Bod I'm glad you brought up

Bod I'm glad you brought up the US attorney firings too-which was investigated by Congress so you should support the investigations now.
subsequent report by the Justice Department Inspector General in October 2008 found that the process used to fire the first seven attorneys and two others dismissed around the same time was "arbitrary", "fundamentally flawed", and "raised doubts about the integrity of Department prosecution decisions".[24] In July 2010, the Department of Justice prosecutors closed the two-year investigation without filing charges after determining that the firing was inappropriately political, but not criminal, saying "Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias. The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias."[25]
SO BOD IT WASN'T ILLEGAL AS YOU POSTED ANOTHER COMPLETE FALSEHOOD. GOSH YOU ARE BECOMING LIKE OBAMA.

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 06/18/14 - 10:08 am
7
1
"Incompetence Or Corruption?"

Those aren't the only possibilities.

The obvious answer is "Subversion."

To even the casual observer, that should be obvious.

The real question is.....what are we going to do about it?

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/18/14 - 10:10 am
6
4
Is there any fact that
Unpublished

Is there any fact that Bodhistechfan won't pull out of thin air?

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 06/18/14 - 10:16 am
7
2
"Is there any fact...

....that Bodhistechfan won't pull out of thin air?"

The answer to that question is pretty clearly "no."

Which begs the question.....why waste time participating in the charade?

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/18/14 - 10:18 am
7
4
There is no point asking
Unpublished

There is no point asking him/her to try to back up the falsehoods. It has NEVER happened....just hit and run.

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 06/18/14 - 10:37 am
8
2
"There is no point asking him/her to try to back up....

....the falsehoods. It has NEVER happened."

One of the generally accepted, working definitions of insanity is....doing the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result.

historylover
5882
Points
historylover 06/18/14 - 10:56 am
4
10
Hit and Run

It has been my experience on this page that if you don't hit and run, you get run over. Then run over again and again. It's the only way to make your point here if you do not agree with the majority. Some of us have lives where the newspaper and/or multiple devices do not control our day. We have the right to post facts. It's up to you to do the research.

Just say it and log off. Exactly what I'm getting ready to do now.

myfather15
53337
Points
myfather15 06/18/14 - 10:57 am
8
3
Exactly!!

"Jack is a great example of the Obama supporter. Toot, toot, toot. That's the mentality. Our country is doomed."

It makes them VERY happy to see the traditional, God loving America dying!! They want to build THEIR new America and the only way to build the new America is to tear down the old one!! No matter what the leftists do, their adament supporters will NEVER turn on them!! Because the destruction of America IS the goal!! They love every second of it!!

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