On today’s IRS scandal news

Day by day the IRS story advances and the scandal grows. The former IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Division employee who has been commenting on the IRS scandal for us writes with observations on today’s testimony in the House:

First, with regard to seizing hard drives, etc., that’s fine, but IRS’s IT people handled all of the computer systems for the Service, including CI’s, and everything was backed up periodically to a server. You get email messages telling you to do it if you’re late. Also, I got a new computer three times over the years, and each time, the hard drive was backed up to the server by IT before the switch. Plus, given the large number of people – at least 88 in multiple groups and offices – it’s likely that the directions for targeting, criteria for selection, and stuff like that would have been sent in the form of group or even division emails.

Lots of people “got the memo,” so the odds are vanishingly small that any one or even several employees could successfully erase all trace of something that happened two or three years ago. Very unlikely. Knowing IRS, it’s much more likely that there’s a paper trail a mile wide that’s going to lead to one person in the Service. The $64 million questions are 1) Why did you do it? and 2) Who outside the Service told you do it?

Second, although George danced around it quite a bit in his testimony, he did clarify a little that THE AUDIT found no evidence of a political motive behind the targeting. Rep. Kaptur tried valiantly to hammer that point in. That’s not surprising because a TIGTA audit looks at processes. A TIGTA investigation looks at people. An audit can turn something up that leads to an investigation, just like a CPA’s audit of a company might turn up fraud, but IG auditors aren’t supposed to do investigations of people, just as that isn’t a CPA’s function. Those are done by Special Agents. George said they’d be looking for RRA98 violations, and, with Justice and FBI, whether Constitutional rights were violated. In short, the audit didn’t find any political motive because that wasn’t its brief.

Responses