Top Fed: IRS broke law over lost Lois Lerner emails

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Tea Party,IRS,Darrell Issa,National Archives,Lois Lerner,House Oversight

The Archivist of the United States said Tuesday the Internal Revenue Service ?did not follow the law? in losing or destroying key emails related to the agency's Tea Party scandal.

At the latest hearing that focused on the missing emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner, a key figure in the GOP probe into the agency's targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups, Archivist David Ferriero said that the tax agency was supposed to notify him of any damage or loss of federal emails.

But, he added, they didn't, even after they were sent a letter from the National Archives and Records Administration about the issue.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee highlighted the exchange between Ferriero and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., in a video they just distributed.

Walberg: Thank you Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ferriero, just to review a bit in your testimony, you state that when agencies become aware of unauthorized destruction of federal records that they are required to report the incidents to the Archives. At any time in 2011, through last Monday, did the IRS report any loss of records related to Lois Lerner?

Ferriero: No.

Walberg: Is it fair to say that the IRS broke the Federal Records Act?

Ferriero: They are required, any agency is required to notify us when they realize they have a problem that could be destruction or disposal, unauthorized disposal.

Walberg: But they didn't do that?

Ferriero: That's right.

Walberg: Did they break the law?

Ferrerio: I'm not a lawyer.

Walberg: But you administer the Federal Records Act.

Ferriero: I do.

Walberg: If they didn't follow it, can we safely assume they broke the law?

Ferriero: They did not follow the law.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.