Attorneys for the IRS have told a federal court that they have not searched various “other sources” for the missing emails of former agency official Lois Lerner, claiming that doing so would be fruitless.
The attorneys made the assertions in a court filing last month as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over the missing emails that was filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. The IRS has said that potentially thousands of emails belonging to Lerner, a central figure in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, were lost in a hard drive crash in 2011.
Judicial Watch has asserted that the IRS could recover the missing emails by various alternative means, such as searching the agency’s disaster recovery tapes, searching agency servers and searching a “government-wide backup system”
In response, the IRS said that it did not search the agency’s servers for the emails because it determined doing so “would not result in the recovery of any information.” In addition, the IRS said did not search the agency’s disaster recovery tapes because the tapes are reused or destroyed every six months, therefore rendering them useless in the hunt for Lerner’s emails from or before 2011.
In response to Judicial Watch’s claims that the emails should be available on a “government-wide backup system,” the agency argued that no such system exists.