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The Overview Published: Sep 16, 2015

IRS Targeting Scandal Timeline

June 3, 2011: Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp sends letter to former IRS Commissioner Shulman stating: “the IRS appears to have selectively targeted certain taxpayers who are engaged in political speech.”

June 13, 2011: Lois Lerner reports to IT that her computer is inoperable. Unsuccessful attempts made by IRS to recover the hard drive.

April 9, 2013: Lois Lerner warns colleagues in an email to “be cautious about what we say in emails” and asks whether the internal instant messaging system is archived. When told no, she responds, “Perfect.” 

May 10, 2013: Lois Lerner publically admits the IRS had selectively targeted conservative 501 (c)(4) organizations for additional scrutiny based on their political affiliation.

May 15, 2013: President Obama calls targeting “inexcusable” and says he will “work hand in hand with Congress.”

May 22, 2013: Ms. Lerner invokes her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before OGR and refuses to testify. IRS Chief Technology Officer (CTO) issues preservation notice or “non-destruction order.”

August 2, 2013: OGR issues first subpoena to Department of the Treasury for IRS materials. This created a legal obligation to preserve and produce the Lois Lerner emails.

February 2, 2014: President Obama discusses IRS targeting with Bill O’Reilly and declares there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption” at the agency.

Kate Duval, Counselor to the IRS Commissioner, discovers a massive gap in Lois Lerner email production.

February 14, 2014: OGR reissues August 2013 subpoena following Commissioner Koskinen’s confirmation.

March 4, 2014: IRS employees at the IRS data center in Martinsburg, WV, magnetically erase 422 backup tapes, destroying information likely to contain up to 24,000 Lois Lerner emails from 2011.

March 26, 2014: Commissioner Koskinen testifies before OGR repeatedly saying that the agency would provide all of Lerner’s emails to the Committee.

May 7, 2014: U.S. House of Representatives votes to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress and urges Attorney General Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS.

June 13, 2014: IRS informs Congress for the first time that it had destroyed emails sent and received by Lois Lerner between January 2009 and April 2011. 

June 16, 2014: TIGTA opens investigation into the missing Lerner emails.

June 20, 2014: Before the House Ways and Means Committee, Koskinen testified, “Since the start of this investigation, every email has been preserved. Nothing has been lost. Nothing has been destroyed.”

July 1, 2014: TIGTA drives to the Martinsburg, WV data center from DC and are handed 744 back-up tapes.

March 4, 2015: OGR re-issues the second subpoena for hardware and documents relating to Lerner’s computer and missing emails.

June 25, 2015: TIGTA testifies before OGR revealing three key points:

  1. From the backup tapes, TIGTA was able to successfully recover over 1,000 unique emails that the IRS did not produce to Congress, DOJ, or TIGTA.
  2. By comparing IRS email transaction logs to IRS production to Congress, TIGTA revealed there could be up to 24,000 additional missing Lerner emails.
  3. IRS did not search five of the six possible sources for Lerner’s emails. Those sources include Lerner’s Ms. Lerner’s BlackBerry, email server, backup tapes for the email server, loaner laptops, Ms. Lerner’s crashed hard drive, and the disaster recovery tapes.