Patterico's Pontifications

6/27/2014

A Unique Incentive

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

Desperate times call for desperate measures and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), fed up with the IRS claims of missing emails, is taking unique steps to solve the issue: he is proposing a bounty bill for their recovery:

It seems that each time the IRS has evidence that will either prove with certainty its guilt or innocence, the evidence disappears which both common sense and the law indicate the evidence such as emails must have proved the IRS’s impropriety if not outright crimes. It is time the IRS either comes clean, or has a special prosecutor to clean it up. This bill should help in the interim.

And what is in the proposed bill?

The Identify and Recover Sent E-mails (IRS) Act (H.R. 4958) would award any individual or group who can recover Lois Lerner’s lost emails $1,000,000 and award $500,000 for information regarding the destruction of the emails that can be used for prosecution of the individuals involved. These rewards would come from the unobligated balances from the IRS fiscal year 2014 budget. Additionally, this legislation would cut salaries at the IRS by 20 percent, until the emails are recovered.

–Dana

38 Responses to “A Unique Incentive”

  1. this is smart and it sends the signal to IRS employees that we think each and every one of them are corrupt sleazy dishonest whores

    They should already know this but it’s nice to spell it out so everyone knows where they stand.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  2. Harry Reid is already scheduling floor arguments in the Senate for this bill./s

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  3. Legal question for the lawyer out there: Isn’t what the IRS is doing the very definition of a criminal conspiracy? If so, what is to keep them from facing civil / criminal RICO charges at the state level (I don’t trust Holder to do anything but continue to cover Obama’s sorry back side)? Cheers -

    agimarc (324b03)

  4. Is Gohmert good-looking at all? Because I want to kiss him.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. Lookism Alert on Aisle Four.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  6. God Bless Texas

    Dustin (7f67e8)

  7. I’d hope someone in the private sector would get a fund going. Probably illegal. Or we could hope someone in the federal government… oh hell. I can’t even finish that sentence.

    ukuleledave (df8fd9)

  8. There’s nothing illegal about Crimestoppers rewards or other private whistleblower incentives. Just don’t write “Dead or Alive”. ;)

    nk (dbc370)

  9. Time to issue Letters of Marque and Repraisal?

    Theodore Rex (64a65c)

  10. Rather than offer a direct cash incentive to produce the elusive emails, which could end up rewarding a co-conspirator or an involved miscreant, it might be a better idea to bring legislation in the House to zero out the government’s contribution to the pension plans of all IRS employees unless the emails are produced within the next 3 days. Including a provision that unless the emails reach the House within the initial 3 day period, the same legislation will be the first order of business in every subsequent GOP controlled House. That might get the horse’s attention.

    ropelight (2d6cac)

  11. The horse is dead, it looks like it’s still moving because of the maggots.

    htom (412a17)

  12. rope, just what President is going to sign that legislation?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  13. If you want to actually recover those emails, you’ve got to include anyone at teh NSA and also absolove everyone of any criminal violations if a person had to violate the law to get them and forward them

    (e-mails to and from Lois Lerner might be at some other organization(s) and the person who would collect the bounty might not be authorized to access them and certainly to give them away.)

    They might also be in a lawyer’s office.

    Does Gohmert really mean it, or not?

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  14. Gohmert also can’t absolve someone of violating satte laws. theer are laws also that protect privacy of various thing.

    By the way, those e-mails – the ones we are talking about – weer lost three years ago if they were on her hard drive, where they probably never were.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  15. Somewhere a sturdy oak branch beckons.

    mg (31009b)

  16. Did someone knock down all the lamp-posts?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  17. I don’t know exactly what kind of budget deal Ryan struck with Reid regarding future budgets, but neither the Senate nor the President are necessary to not funding something. The House’s hard drive could crash and lose the bill funding the IRS.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. He should really an an immunity deal to that.

    htom (412a17)

  19. Way off topic. FDA announced that Afrezza has been approved. I am so happy I have a substantial long position. I just got through emailing my (3 of 7) siblings that took my advice and bought shares. Now I can high five them at the 4th of july party. Sorry for the boarish behavior.

    felipe (960c75)

  20. Ok, now I have read the post. It is about time! Put a bounty on the info and watch the internet fly! Maybe Snowden’s got L.L.’s e-mails.

    felipe (960c75)

  21. We got them! We have every thing goober should ask us for them!

    nsa (e6d70c)

  22. Hell yes. Use the power you HAVE, don’t go off on a tangent with lawsuits of dubious merit. I’d also zero out the IRS budget for bonuses, conventions and all non-essential functions.

    mojo (00b01f)

  23. 4. Louis wears a 2 inch-thick medium rare porterhouse about his neck.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  24. Louie is more lucid than Issa:

    http://www.sondrakistan.com/2014/06/25/49070/

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  25. Nothing will come of this. If anyone had proposed going after a Dem group to the IRS the same .gov workers who went along with going after Rep groups would have ratted them out to the MSM within minutes. The IRS is a working group for the DNC.

    highpockets (bc1bd4)

  26. The answer uis simple:

    First, make sure Lois Lerner has a lawyer she wouldn’t lose, or lose the ability to pay for, should she be guilty of some kind of malfeasance in office. (If some outside group is paying for a alwyer, or insurance coverage is dependent on innocense, this could be a problem)

    Second, offer her immunity. (Ignore anything Holder may say about not doing that.)

    Sammy Finkelman (9ec422)

  27. As Scooby would say, ruh roh.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/irs-failed-to-tell-federal-court-of-lost-lois-lerner-emails/article/2550281

    Internal Revenue Service officials will have to explain to a federal judge July 10 why the tax agency didn’t inform the court that Lois Lerner’s emails had been lost.

    U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Emmett G. Sullivan quickly granted a motion filed earlier today by attorneys for Judicial Watch seeking a courtroom status conference “as soon as possible to discuss the IRS’s failure to fulfill its duties to this court under the law, as well as other ramifications of this lawsuit.”

    …The IRS is already under severe fire from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on Ways and Means for failing to disclose the lost emails in a timely fashion.

    The July 10 conference could add a similar failure to inform a federal judge and the plaintiff in an FOIA lawsuit to the legal and public relations troubles facing the IRS.

    The tax agency could also face court sanctions or even criminal proceedings if Sullivan is not satisfied with the government’s explanation…

    The whole “global warming ate our emails” excuse appears to have just been fabricated to obstruct Congress. And for no other purpose. This isn’t the only court case or FOIA request in which the IRS was supposed to produce these emails. As far as I know the IRS has never revealed that they lost these emails in any of those instances. For example, Cleta Mitchell represents True The Vote in a lawsuit pending for over a year against the IRS. From the letters she sent to the DoJ attorneys representing the IRS, but most especially to an attorney in private practice who is representing current and former IRS employees sued individually, it appears she is royally PO’d because she had to find out from the press (you know, the same way Prom Queen finds out what’s doing at the IRS) that the IRS had lost years worth of emails she had informed them to preserve. She should have been informed by opposing counsel.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/06/cleta-mitchell-to-the-irs-answer-this.php

    …Further, by letters dated September 17, 2013, TTV provided notice to counsel for the individual IRS Defendants in this litigation.

    … TTV’s September 17, 2013 correspondence reminded you and your clients of the Individual Defendants’ obligation “not to destroy, conceal or alter any paper or electronic files, other data generated by and/or stored on your clients’ computer systems and storage media (e.g. hard disks, floppy disks, backup tapes) or any other electronic data, such as voicemail.” We identified the scope as encompassing both the personal and professional or business capacity of your clients and involving data “generated or created on or after July 15, 2010.”

    …The public reports released late on Friday, June 13, 2014 stated that the IRS now claims to have “lost” the emails of defendant Lois Lerner. These reports are particularly astonishing in light of your representations, Ms. Benitez, that [you] would “advise your clients, as appropriate, and [would] abide by your legal and ethical obligations.” The “lost” emails, from press reports, appear to cover a time period from January 2009 to April 2011.

    …We are deeply troubled by this news and are concerned about the spoliation of information and documents pertaining to this case and the apparent failure on your part to (a) protect and preserve all potentially relevant information and (b) to advise us of such failure and spoliation when you first learned of it. We are even more concerned after receiving your assurances that you would “abide by your legal and ethical obligations.”

    The whole letter is good, but believe it or not it gets better after this.

    To reap, the IRS not only failed to inform Congress for oer a year that these emails were supposedly lost, but they failed to report the loss to the National Archivist as required (thus according to the Archivist violating the Federal Records Act), they failed to inform FOIA requesters, two sets of litigants, and at least one judge as well.

    Naturally the fact that the IRS didn’t think to inform anyone of this loss means this sorry excuse about “losing” emails stinks to high heaven. So it will be fun watching the whole thing fall apart. And by whole thing I mean as we catalog all the laws and regulations the IRS broke it will expose the DoJ “investigation” headed by that Obama donor for the whitewash it was. We an see some in the press and in Congress throw that “phony sandal” and “not a smidgen of corruption” BS back into Tiger Beat’s smarmy face. And we can look forward to round two (and hopefully a few more rounds) of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avfm2urqdHM

    Trey Gowdy OWNS Irs Commissioner John Koskinen. Trey Gowdy vs Irs Commissioner

    Steve57 (874187)

  28. Steve57 (874187) — 6/30/2014 @ 5:26 am

    The whole “global warming ate our emails” excuse appears to have just been fabricated to obstruct Congress.

    No, the e-mails were lost the way they say they were (except for the fact that there no requirement for Lois Lerner to keep old e-mail on her own hard drive, and maybe no reason to suppose that she had!)

    What the IRS did is keep secret (or at least very quiet) the nature of its e-mail preservation system.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f)

  29. By the way, the Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial that there already should have been a litigation hold on Lois Lerner’s e-mails back in August, 2010.

    That was not a lawsuit by Judicial Watch. That was a lawsuit by Z Street, which was an organization so small, or that had so little money, that I guess they considered it of no account.

    “Z Street” was an organization founded to counter “J Street.” “J Street” was an organization founded to allow some people, mostly Jews, to claim they were supporting Israel, while really supporting most of the Arab positions – you know “K Street” are lobbyists, so they were “J Street”

    And then some people formed a “Z Street.”

    According to a Wall Street Journal editorial of Thursday, June 26, 2014:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/irs-lost-email-jeopardy-1403653430

    In 2009…Z Street applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status. When the process was delayed, an IRS agent told the group that its application was undergoing special review because “these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

    By the way, I think that might not have bene the exact truth, and people high up in the federal government were not truly interested in “Z Street” or not interested in it for foreign policy reasons, and perhaps some people outside the federal government had connections to the IRS, and this was really an instance of corruption.

    But leave that aside. It DOESN’T MATTER what the real reason for the improper influence was, or where it was coming from.

    In August, 2010 Z Street sued, and

    Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and legal precedent, once the suit was filed the IRS was required to preserve all evidence relevant to the viewpoint-discrimination charge. That means that no matter what dog ate Lois Lerner’s hard drive or what the IRS habit was of recycling the tapes used to back up its email records of taxpayer information, it had a legal duty not to destroy the evidence in ongoing litigation.

    And anything that might have mentioned Z Street, or giving or not giving tax exemption depending upon whether or not the goals of the organizations were consistent with the Administration’s foreign policy, or any kind of “viewpoint discrimination” was evidence, d e-mail was a place to look.

    The Wall Street Journal notes there is a 2011 D.C. court decision that says

    “Once a party reasonably anticipates litigation, it must suspend its routine document retention/destruction policy and put in place a ‘litigation hold’ to ensure the preservation of relevant documents.”

    And in 2007 the Court of Federal Claims ruled

    “When the United States comes into court as a party in a civil suit, it is subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as any other litigant”

    and it is an established principle that

    “negligent or reckless spoliation of evidence is an independent and actionable tort.”

    The editorial also mentions that not preserving documents is “willful spoilation” if any of those documents are potentially relevant to the litigation.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f)

  30. Steve57 (874187) — 6/30/2014 @ 5:26 am

    To reap, the IRS not only failed to inform Congress for oer a year that these emails were supposedly lost,

    What they didn’t inform Congress is that many e-mails might not be available because of their retention policy, nor, when they got all of Lois Lerner’s e-mail, did they retrieve a backup tape from November, 2012, which might have given maybe some more.

    Most important, really, although they had bene asked for ALL ) of Lois Lerner’s emails they continued to search what they had using search terms, without revealing that alot of pre-April, 2011 emails – and we can’t be sure that’s really the cut-off date – were not extant.

    The Description of IRS Email Collection Production is obviously mendacious in several spots, and I don’t know if anybody saw that document, or anything like that, before June 13, 2014

    but they failed to report the loss to the National Archivist as required Lois Lerner’s hard drive was not supposed to be anything more than a personal (duplicate) record, so there as nothing to report. E-mails themselves were not considered records, except for those that the owner of the e-mail account in which they were included, chose to consider a record. That was policy.

    Naturally the fact that the IRS didn’t think to inform anyone of this loss means this sorry excuse about “losing” emails stinks to high heaven.

    What stinks to high heaven is the fact that the IRS did not inform Congress of the missing e-mails on the grounds that maybe they could still get a lot of them from records of e-mails received by other people in the IRS, and until they knew exactly what they could get and what they could not get, they didn’t want to say anything because it might be taken the wrong way, and they wanted to be as fully compliant as possible before admitting they couldn’t produce some.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f)

  31. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/upshot/the-lost-emails-of-the-irs-point-to-a-wider-problem.html?rref=us&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&pgtype=article

    Strange as it may sound, I.R.S. employees were supposed to be saving their important emails — which as everyone knows are written on a computer, transmitted electronically and then read on a computer screen — by printing them out. On paper.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f)

  32. More:

    The I.R.S.’s own standards for email say that “maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the I.R.S. email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record.” The I.R.S. standards include an instruction to “print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.” ….The I.R.S. guidance for employees advises that “if you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly.”

    It was part of Lois Lerner’s job to decide which of her e-mails weer federal records, and to preserve any of them that were by printing them out before deleting them from the central server, whether she outright deleted them, or maintained a personal archive on her own hard drive.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f)

  33. 32. It was part of Lois Lerner’s job to decide which of her e-mails weer federal records, and to preserve any of them that were by printing them out before deleting them from the central server, whether she outright deleted them, or maintained a personal archive on her own hard drive.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f) — 6/30/2014 @ 8:14 am

    No, per the Federal Records Act the National Archives and Records Administration (specifically the Archivist) decides when an email constitutes a federal record. Not Lois Lerner. It was Lois Lerner’s job to comply with the law and preserve those emails that clearly were federal records.

    36 CFR § 1220.12

    (a) The Archivist of the United States issues regulations and provides guidance and assistance to Federal agencies on ensuring adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Federal Government and ensuring proper records disposition, including standards for improving the management of records.
    (b) NARA establishes standards for the retention of records having continuing value (permanent records), and assists Federal agencies in applying the standards to records in their custody.
    (c) Through a records scheduling and appraisal process, the Archivist of the United States determines which Federal records have temporary value and may be destroyed and which Federal records have permanent value and must be preserved and transferred to the National Archives of the United States. The Archivist’s determination constitutes mandatory authority for the final disposition of all Federal records.

    All these people filing FOIA requests or suing the IRS weren’t interested in emails about Lois Lerner’s lunch dates or other non-substantive garbage that wouldn’t have constituted a federal record. They wanted her emails about how she was targeting conservative or pro-Israel groups for intensive scrutiny. In a word, harassment.

    In short, precisely those emails concerning “the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Federal Government” that constitute federal records.

    I’d say she’s in big trouble. Really, so is he whole organiaion.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/641

    18 U.S. Code § 641 – Public money, property or records

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2071

    18 U.S. Code § 2071 – Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally

    28. What the IRS did is keep secret (or at least very quiet) the nature of its e-mail preservation system.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f) — 6/30/2014 @ 7:05 am

    You do realize that’s illegal Sammy, when you’re keeping that sort of information “secret” from FOIA requesters, litigants, and judges?

    Steve57 (874187)

  34. 29.

    According to a Wall Street Journal editorial of Thursday, June 26, 2014:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/irs-lost-email-jeopardy-1403653430

    That should have been Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

    There was some letters in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. One person believed Koskinen. I guess you can fool some of the people some of the time. Not that the members of the committee understood the situation.

    Sammy Finkelman (688d8d)

  35. 32. 33.

    It was part of Lois Lerner’s job to decide which of her e-mails weer federal records, and to preserve any of them that were by printing them out before deleting them from the central server, whether she outright deleted them, or maintained a personal archive on her own hard drive.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f) – 6/30/2014 @ 8:14 am

    Comment by Steve57 (874187) – 6/30/2014 @ 9:19 am:

    No, per the Federal Records Act the National Archives and Records Administration (specifically the Archivist) decides when an email constitutes a federal record.

    In that case every single email would have to be preserved indefinitely, or at least until the archivist took a look at it.

    It may be that the entire system that the IRS has is illegal, but this is used by many other agencies in the federal government (I saw the Department of Homeland Security has a similar policy) and they are probably relying on an early legal opinion that e-mails qua emails are not federal records.

    You can very easily see how problematic that position is.

    The argument probably would be that they didn’t use to have e-mail, and e-mail replaces telephone calls, and telephone calls were never required to be recorded and preserved, and if all e-mail was preserved, people would not use e-mail for reasons of privacy, and that would be horribly inefficient.

    Yes, I know, that could enable people to cover up things or make it more difficult to investigate numerous things

    Sammy Finkelman (688d8d)

  36. They furthermore pushed people into deleting email, by limiting the size of their mailboxes. There was actually no other choice that an employee had but to pick and choose what emails to delete, and the bosses carefully avoided having anyone else make that decision.

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/6_13_14_irs_letter.pdf

    See Attachments B and C to the Description of IRS Email Collection and Production

    (Consider whether any of the items you want to delete may be a federal record. I.R.M. 1.10.3.3.2 above.)

    It is not the practice of the SEMS staff to adjust any individual mailbox storage limits, but rather to provide guidance on reducing the soze of the contents.

    That notice is dated July 8, 2011, when the size limit on individual mailboxes was raised to 500 MB. There is very similar language in the notice of February 20, 2009, which set a mailbox limit of 150 MB.

    per the Federal Records Act the National Archives and Records Administration (specifically the Archivist) decides when an email constitutes a federal record. Not Lois Lerner. It was Lois Lerner’s job to comply with the law and preserve those emails that clearly were federal records.

    That is exactly what it was her job to do, and the IRS submitted documentation to Congress showing that it was.

    Sammy Finkelman (688d8d)

  37. Emails were only possible or potential federal records.

    Anything determined to be a record had to be printed out. It could also be kept on the central server, but the central server had low storage limits, and the person who had custody of the e-mail was the person who decided what needed to be printed out it it was deleted – and they had to delete e-mail or stop using e-mail.

    (a) The Archivist of the United States issues regulations and provides guidance and assistance to Federal agencies on ensuring adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Federal Government and ensuring proper records disposition, including standards for improving the management of records.

    Lois Lerner, and all other employees of the IRS using email, were given standards to use, but nobody else but the person in whose mailbox it was in made decisions about particular emails.

    All these people filing FOIA requests or suing the IRS weren’t interested in emails about Lois Lerner’s lunch dates or other non-substantive garbage that wouldn’t have constituted a federal record. They wanted her emails about how she was targeting conservative or pro-Israel groups for intensive scrutiny. In a word, harassment.

    In short, precisely those emails concerning “the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Federal Government” that constitute federal records.

    I’d say she’s in big trouble. Really, so is the whole organization.

    She’s in potentially big trouble, if you know what she deleted. Some of the e-mail – that sent or forwarded to other people in the IRS – was recovered becaue the other people didn’t delete it. But she can plead lack of expertise.

    Improper influence from the outside is probably not a federal record, anyway.

    Sammy Finkelman (688d8d)

  38. What the IRS did is keep secret (or at least very quiet) the nature of its e-mail preservation system.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7774f) — 6/30/2014 @ 7:05 am

    Comment by Steve57 (874187) — 6/30/2014 @ 9:19 am

    You do realize that’s illegal Sammy, when you’re keeping that sort of information “secret” from FOIA requesters, litigants, and judges?

    Probably not.

    They are probably only required to tell you what their email storage and collection system is if you ask.

    Sammy Finkelman (688d8d)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2160 secs.