IRS wiped Lerner’s BlackBerry after Congress inquiry began, lawyer says

Photograph by langleyo

While controversy still swirls over whether the Internal Revenue Service has backup tapes with the “lost” e-mails of former IRS executive Lois Lerner, an IRS attorney confirmed that the agency had disposed of Lerner’s government-issued BlackBerry in June of 2012.

That would mean that the destruction of the data on the phone—including e-mails that may have been part of the missing messages both Congress and the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch have sought from the agency—happened after congressional staffers had begun asking her about the alleged targeting of conservative nonprofit groups. But it was over a year after the loss of e-mails on Lerner’s personal computer due to a reported hard drive crash.

In a declaration by the IRS in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, IRS Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel Thomas Kane wrote that the BlackBerry phone had been “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”

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