A new investigative report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has leveled a new series of accusations against the IRS under Commissioner John Koskinen’s watch that Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says should be grounds for the former’s dismissal by President Donald Trump.
The report’s title alone tells the story: Electronic Record Retention Policies Do Not Consistently Ensure That Records Are Retained and Produced When Requested. It goes on to state that the agency’s records management practices resulted in lost records and incomplete responses to Freedom of Information Act requests and congressional inquiries.
Here is the TIGTA’s summary:
IRS policies do not comply with certain Federal requirements that agencies must ensure that all records are retrievable and usable for as long as needed. For example, IRS e-mail retention policies are not adequate because e-mails are not automatically archived for all IRS employees. Instead, the IRS’s current policy instructs employees to take manual actions to archive e-mails by saving them permanently on computer hard drives or network shared drives.
This policy has resulted in lost records when computer hard drives are destroyed or damaged. In addition, a recently instituted executive e-mail retention policy, which should have resulted in the archiving of e-mails from specific executives, was not implemented effectively because some executives did not turn on the automatic archiving feature.
For certain cases that TIGTA reviewed, IRS policies were not implemented consistently to ensure that all relevant documents were searched and produced when responding to external requests for records. TIGTA’s review of 30 completed Freedom of Information Act requests found that in more than half of the responses, the IRS did not follow its own policies that require it to document what records were searched. TIGTA also found that IRS policies for preserving records from separated employees were not adequate.
Click here to read the entire report.
"This new report is shocking but not surprising," Fitton said. "We have long battled the IRS in court over its obstruction in responding to FOIA requests about Obama era IRS abuses. It is a scandal that the Obama IRS did not tell Judicial Watch, the courts, or Congress about the loss of government records.
"Our attorneys will review this report to assess whether we should seek relief and accountability from the courts. In the meantime, President Trump should finally fire IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and direct the Justice Department to reopen its criminal inquiry into the Obama IRS abuses and cover-ups."
Koskinen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama during the fallout from the IRS’s targeting scandal, was nearly impeached by Congress last fall. The congressman who led that effort, Jason Chaffetz, has since resigned. It’s not yet clear if his replacement as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform will want to resume that cause.