WTVM 6/20/14 Editorial: Lost IRS emails

(WTVM) - The lost emails of now retired IRS official Lois Lerner is shaping up as another big Washington "who-done-it".

Lerner is under contempt of Congress charges for failing to testify about her role in illegally targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.

The IRS at first offered to comply with subpoenas for Lerner's email. Now, those emails are said to be gone forever. Digital data experts say it's nearly impossible those emails are truly gone.

One U.S. Senator even asked the National Security Agency to turn them over since we all know the NSA keeps massive digital data on everyone.

But even if the emails are gone, federal records law requires printed backups be kept of every email created or received in the course of official IRS business.

So where are those hard copies?

If Lerner failed to follow that procedure, she ought to face additional charges for destroying evidence.

It reminds me of the notorious 18-and-a-half-minute gap in the Nixon Watergate tapes. Nixon's secretary claimed to have mistakenly erased them - and the words Nixon spoke that day in 1972 are indeed gone forever.

His secretary, Rose Mary Woods, once demonstrated for reporters how she said it happened - and her awkward re-enactment soon became the butt of jokes.

42 years later, the excuse about Lois Lerner's missing emails is just as laughable. Maybe we need a special prosecutor to get the bottom of the IRS scandal, just like they blew the lid off the Watergate cover-up.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

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