Federal Judge Orders IRS To Release All Lerner’s Emails

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On June 4 a federal judge ordered the Internal Revenue Service to provide more comprehensive information in relation to former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails. The order involves a suit filed by Judicial Watch in the fall of 2013 regarding its request for Lerner’s emails using the Freedom of Information Act. The suit was in response to statements made by Ms. Lerner that her unit had treated various conservative and Tea Party groups unfairly by subjecting them to more rigorous screening for tax exempt status from 2010 to 2012.

Initially, the IRS claimed in the summer of 2013 that Ms. Lerner’s emails from her time as the director of the Exempt Organizations Unit could not be located or retrieved due to problems with their computer system. However, The Treasury Department’s Inspector General was able to locate approximately 32,000 of Ms. Lerner’s emails from 744 backup tapes in February. Later that month, Treasury investigators also discovered a second group of 424 backup tapes, the contents of which have not yet been fully disclosed.

In response to a FOIA request filed by Judicial Watch on June 2 in federal district court, federal judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to provide answers regarding this second group of backup tapes by June 12. The filing seeks information regarding the status of Ms. Lerner’s emails discovered by the Treasury Department Inspector General, as well as the number of emails recovered and a general time frame for the IRS to completely review and process them.

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