The Internal Revenue Service is expected to present sworn testimony today to a federal judge who cracked down on the agency after it offered dismissive responses to a previous discovery order aimed at explaining how Lois Lerner’s infamous “lost” emails went missing.
The new order, issued last week by U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan in a lawsuit brought against the agency by Judicial Watch, left nothing to the imagination after the IRS’s previous attempt at satisfying a broader order by Sullivan went largely unheeded.
Sullivan gave the agency until Aug. 22 to come up with under-oath answers to a host of new demands:
In light of the [previous] Declarations filed by the IRS, the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014. In this Declaration, the IRS must: (1) provide information about its efforts, if any, to recover missing Lois Lerner emails from alternate sources (i.e., Blackberry, iPhone, iPad); (2) provide additional information explaining the IRS’s policy of tracking inventory through use of bar code property tags, including whether component parts, such as hard drives, receive a bar code tag when serviced. If individual components do not receive a bar code tag, provide information on how the IRS tracks component parts, such as hard drives, when being serviced; (3) provide information about the IRS’s policy to degauss hard drives, including whether the IRS records whose hard drive is degaussed, either by tracking the employee’s name or the particular machine with which the hard drive was associated; and (4) provide information about the outside vendor who can verify the IRS’s destruction policies concerning hard drives. Signed by Judge Emmett G. Sullivan on August 14, 2014.
Judicial Watch hailed the order as tantamount to the launch of an “independent inquiry” into the alleged loss of Lerner’s email data — something for which conservative groups and alternative media had been clamoring for several months.
“In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner,” Judicial Watch Tom Fitton said in a statement on Aug. 14.
“Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.”
While Fitton’s statement might be prematurely jubilant, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the IRS is faring better than a similar one filed by Texas-based conservative group True the Vote. Earlier this month, federal judge Reggie Walton denied True the Vote’s request for an independent forensic audit of IRS computers connected with Lerner’s emails, saying it would only duplicate the investigative efforts of the government’s Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
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