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Press Release Published: Jun 24, 2014

Archivist of the United States: IRS “did not follow the law” in failing to report Lerner e-mail loss

In Q and A with Rep. Walberg, Archivist says IRS failed to comply with the Federal Records Act

 During today’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, IRS Obstruction: Lois Lerner’s Missing E-mails, Part II, David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States for the National Archives and Records Administration, under questioning by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), admitted that he believed the IRS fell short of meeting the requirements of the Federal Records Act, which requires agencies to notify the National Archives of disposal or destruction of federal records, when it came to reporting the loss of Ms. Lerner’s emails.

On June 17, 2014, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) sent a letter to the IRS requesting an investigation into the potentially illegal disposal of Ms. Lerner’s emails. Today, Mr. Ferriero testified that NARA was not made aware of Ms. Lerner’s computer crashing, the IRS’ inability to recover her emails, nor were they aware that her hard drive was later recycled.

Watch the exchange here.

Question & Answer with Rep. Walberg:

Walberg: Thank you Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ferriero, just to review a bit in your testimony, you state that when agencies become aware of unauthorized destruction of federal records that they are required to report the incidents to the Archives. At any time in 2011, through last Monday, did the IRS report any loss of records related to Lois Lerner?

Ferriero:  No.

Walberg: Is it fair to say that the IRS broke the Federal Records Act?

Ferriero: They are required, any agency is required to notify us when they realize they have a problem that could be destruction or disposal, unauthorized disposal.

Walberg: But they didn’t do that?

Ferriero: That’s right.

Walberg: Did they break the law?

Ferrerio: I’m not a lawyer.

Walberg: But you administer the Federal Records Act.

Ferriero: I do.

Walberg: If they didn’t follow it, can we safely assume they broke the law?

Ferriero: They did not follow the law.