A conservative group suing the IRS for political discrimination was dealt a crucial defeat today when a Federal judge ruled that the tax agency would not have to allow an outside expert to follow a forensic trail back to Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails.
Federal Judge Reggie Walton denied the request from Texas-based nonprofit True the Vote, which had asked the court to appoint an independent computer expert to locate two years’ worth of Lerner’s missing emails, or to explain to the court why they can’t be recovered. True the Vote had also sought an injunction prohibiting the IRS from destroying any more documents.
Walton said True the Vote had failed to persuade him that a special hunt for the lost emails was warranted in order to prevent irreparable harm to its interests, and that such an investigation would be redundant in light of a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigation that (presumably) seeks the same end.
Walton’s remarks (by way of POLITICO):
Despite the general distrust of the defendants expressed by the plaintiff, the Court has no factual basis to concur with that distrust … and therefore concludes that the issuance of an injunction will not further aid in the recovery of the emails, if such recovery is possible, but will rather only duplicate and potentially interfere with ongoing investigative activities.
…Walton also said although it is in the public’s interest to find Lerner’s email, it’s not in the public’s interest to “allow … a third party, as requested by the plaintiff, to inspect IRS computers” because it would “necessarily result in the disclosure of tax returns and return information to that third party.”
Also on Thursday, reports surfaced that another government agency had deleted emails relating to the rollout of Obamacare, comprising its ability to cooperate in a House Oversight Committee investigation into the botched deployment of the Obamacare website last year.
Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), deleted an unspecified number of emails during the months leading up to the launch of Healthcare.gov – a fact revealed in a letter CMS sent to the National Archives and Records Administration Thursday “out of an abundance of caution” against any future accusation of a wilful failure at CMS to disclose information.
“There is no evidence that Marilyn Tavenner, an Obama appointee who leads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, intentionally hid information or deleted records; rather, the gaps appear to be the result of sloppy record keeping,” reported MSNBC in an article sympathetic to the Obama Administration. “But Republicans have attempted to turn missing emails into a political scandal before, as they did with Lois Lerner, a former IRS official at the center of a separate controversy over alleged targeting of conservative nonprofit groups.”
Can Obama’s progressive bureaucrats not even take credit for their own scandals?