The IRS dropped a bombshell in federal court, admitting that firebrand Lois Lerner also used a personal email account for IRS business. She used her dog’s name, Toby Miles. The Washington Times broke the story from the Judicial Watch lawsuit that is still seeking IRS targeting emails. It puts the IRS in another awkward spot. Why wasn’t this revealed by the IRS sooner, you might ask?
Good question. Since there have been multiple probes for several years now, one might assume that American taxpayers would know about this by now. IRS documents previously revealed a Lois Lerner email that warned IRS staffers about revealing too much information to Congress. Forget email, Ms. Lerner had warned. Instead, use instant messaging that automatically deletes office communications. House Oversight Committee documentation suggested that this ruse was used deliberately by IRS officials to evade public scrutiny.
So far, the fact that the IRS used instant messaging to hide internal communications was pooh-poohed by the administration. It still seems unlikely that Ms. Lerner will face any further scrutiny. Yet while she presided over alleged discrimination against conservative nonprofits, Ms. Lois Lerner received $129,000 in bonuses. Some people have wondered exactly what her bonus was for!
The latest email issue came in the Judicial Watch case. The IRS says it “discovered” the Lerner dog email account, in addition to her official account and personal email accounts. There was already an official IRS email account, and Lerner’s own private email account that the IRS had labeled ‘Lois Home.’ But now, the ‘Toby Miles’ account also shows up.
Toby is the dog, and Michael Miles is Ms. Lerner’s husband. The IRS says it may need to re-release additional documents. You think? The IRS notes that a House Ways and Means Committee criminal referral in 2014 mentioned the Toby Miles email address, identified as firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address was included on an email that also had Lerner’s official email account. At that time, the committee linked the Toby Miles address to Ms. Lerner’s husband, Michael Miles.
Thus, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton has said that the Obama Justice Department and the IRS have apparently known about the Toby Miles account for some time. It is unclear if the dog’s account was every searched. But the IRS has suggested it wasn’t hiding anything, pointing to a footnote (!) in a letter attached to a June 27, 2014, brief that mentioned “documents located on her personal home computer and email on her personal email account.”
Boy, that’s transparency for you! Of course, President Obama has long denied that there is–or ever was–any IRS problem. He has said there was not a smidgen of corruption at the IRS, and any missteps were the fault of bonehead decisions in local offices. On his recent Daily Show appearance, President Obama was at it again:
You’ve got this back office, and they’re going after the Tea Party. Well, it turned out, no, Congress had passed a crummy law that didn’t give people guidance in terms of what it was they were trying to do. They did it poorly and stupidly. The truth of the matter is that there was not some big conspiracy there. They were trying to sort out these conflicting demands. You don’t want all this money pouring through non-for-profits, but you also want to make sure everybody is being treated fairly.”
What does the dog say about all this? Maybe he’ll take the Fifth too.
For alerts to future tax articles, follow me on Forbes. You can reach me at Wood@WoodLLP.com. This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.
via The Tax Lawyer http://ift.tt/1V8m7jt