House Republicans reported on Tuesday that the IRS cannot find emails from six additional employees involved in the IRS targeting scandal, in which the officials applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said one of those employees is Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to then-Deputy IRS Commissioner Steve Miller. Miller was fired from the IRS after the targeting scandal broke, and Republicans have been seeking Flax’s emails as a way to uncover more evidence about the scandal.
That news follows last week’s revelation that the IRS could not produce emails from Lois Lerner, the former employee who led the tax-exempt organizations division in the IRS. The IRS said a computer crash killed the emails, an excuse that Republicans immediately dismissed as unbelievable.
Camp and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), who chairs the oversight subcommittee, said the lost emails now make it appear that the IRS was lying when it said it would work with Republicans to find pertinent information about the targeting scandal.
“It looks like the American people were lied to and the IRS tried to cover-up the fact it conveniently lost key documents in this investigation,” they said. “The White House promised full cooperation, the Commissioner promised full access to Lois Lerner emails and now the Agency claims it cannot produce those materials and they’ve known for months they couldn’t do this.”
The two Republicans said Flax appeared to be a “frequent visitor” to the White House, which raises other questions.
“Who was she visiting at the White House and what were they talking about?” they asked. “Was she updating the White House on the targeting or was she getting orders?
“These are answers we don’t yet have, because – surprise, surprise – a few computers crashed. Plot lines in Hollywood are more believable than what we are getting from this White House and the IRS.”
Camp and Boustany again called for an independent prosecutor to figure out what happened at the IRS.
Late Monday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) subpoenaed the IRS commissioner to testify on the supposedly lost emails. Camp said Monday that the commissioner, John Koskinen, would testify on the issue before his committee next week.