IRS chief to testify about lost e-mails

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, says independent counsel should be appointed.

House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, assailed the Internal Revenue Service for not finding two years of e-mails written by a key agency official accused of targeting conservative independent organizations.

At a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill, Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., called the lost e-mails “outrageous” and complained that “the White House has not lifted a finger to help us get to the bottom of this.”

Turner, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for the appointment of an independent counsel, charging that the Obama administration “has once again demonstrated a pattern of obstruction and made it clear that they do not share our commitment to transparency and accountability.”

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will testify today before the House Ways and Means Committee. Koskinen will be asked about the e-mails, written by Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division on tax-exempt organizations.

In a statement, the IRS said it has “made unprecedented efforts” in providing material to Congress, including 750,000 pages of documents and 11,000 e-mails “sent or received” by Lerner.”

The IRS said that congressional investigators either have or soon will receive 67,000 e-mails from Lerner’s account.

“In the course of collecting and producing Ms. Lerner’s additional emails, the IRS determined her hard drive crashed in 2011,” the IRS said, adding that “at the time” she asked IRS officials “to restore her hard drive, but they were unable to do so.”

“Nonetheless, the IRS has or will produce 24,000 Lerner e-mails from this 2009-2011 time period, largely from the files of the other 82 individuals,” the IRS said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said the lost e-mails show the IRS needs upgraded technology. Boehner responded that the IRS and the White House need “somebody who will tell you truth.”

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