Lois Lerner Accused of Using Personal E-mail for Official Business
by Terri Eyden on
By Ken Berry
Lois Lerner can't catch a break. First, the embattled head of the Exempt Organization (EO) division of the IRS – and one of the central figures in the ongoing "Tea Party scandal" – was forced to take an unpaid leave of absence after she refused to testify before Congress. Now House Republicans are asking her to provide official documents she purportedly sent to her personal e-mail account.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, one of several panels investigating the Tea Party matter and other IRS missteps, made the request in a letter sent to the IRS on August 13. In the letter, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) alleges that Lerner forwarded official government documents to her personal e-mail account in violation of federal laws.
"Through the course of the investigation, we have learned that you sent documents related to your official duties from your official IRS e-mail account to an msn.com e-mail account labeled 'Lois Home.' This raises some serious questions concerning your use of a nonofficial e-mail account to conduct official business," Issa stated in the letter. "Accordingly, we write to request documents related to your official duties that are housed in nonofficial e-mail accounts."
"The use of nonofficial e-mail accounts to conduct official business implicates federal records requirements. Use of a nonofficial e-mail account to conduct government business raises the prospect that records – as defined by the Federal Records Act – are not captured by official government e-mail archiving systems," the letter continues." It also creates difficulties in fulfilling the IRS' obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and other litigation requests. Your use of nonofficial e-mail account also frustrates congressional oversight obligations."
Earlier this year, the IRS admitted that it wrongfully targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. In the wake of the disclosure, Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned, while other top IRS officials have been grilled by Congress. The scandal is just one of several black eyes the IRS has suffered in recent months, including charges that its staffers enjoyed lavish accommodations at conferences and wasted taxpayer money producing video parodies for training sessions.
When questioned by the House oversight committee on May 22 about her role in the proceedings at the EO division, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment rights. At the time, she proclaimed, "I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations." Lerner was promptly place on unpaid leave where she has been languishing ever since.
Issa and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) established a firm deadline of August 27 at 5:00 p.m. for Lerner to comply with their request to produce the documents. The IRS has yet to comment on the issue.
- Lois Lerner, EO Director, Takes the Fall in IRS Scandal
- IRS Official Lois Lerner Pleads the Fifth before House Oversight Committee
You may like these other stories...
IRS must take oath on Lerner emails: judgeMackenzie Weinger of Politico reported on Thursday that a federal judge ordered the IRS to explain under oath how it lost emails connected to Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official at the...
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday morning that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break for businesses.The measure, HR 4718, which was crafted by Representative Pat...
The Republican-led House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill this week that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break. But don’t expect President Obama to sign it.The Obama administration said...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
FRF for SMEs Series--Statement of Cash Flows, Subsequent Events, Related Party Issues, Accounting for Investments including Consolidations, Part 4A
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.