Two Texas Republicans are proposing a $1 million reward to anyone who recover former IRS employee Lois Lerner’s lost emails.
Reps. Bill Flores and Louie Gohmert proposed the Identify and Recover Sent Emails Act, or the IRS Act. In addition to the big $1 million bounty, the bill would offer $500,000 to anyone with information that can be used to prosecute officials involved in destroying the emails.
All reward money would be taken from the budget of the IRS. In addition, the bill would cut all IRS salaries by 20 percent until the Lerner emails are found.
The bill was introduced just days after the Ways and Means Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee grilled IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the lost emails.
Republicans have been searching for all of Lerner’s emails since last year, and believe they will show that Lerner orchestrated the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. They also believe the emails may show attempts to coordinate this effort with the White House.
Koskinen has told House committees that the emails cannot be retrieved, as Lerner’s hard drive suffered a crash and was recycled. But Republicans like Flores and Gohmert suspect the emails are still out there, and are only being hidden because they would confirm the GOP’s theory about the targeting scandal.
“I find it very hard to believe that the emails from Lois Lerner are lost and unrecoverable,” Flores said Wednesday. “It is very convenient that the IRS is unable to turn over any of the communications from the central figure responsible for the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups.”
“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,” Gohmert said. “It is time the IRS either comes clean, or has a special prosecutor to clean it up.”
On Friday, Koskinen told Ways and Means that he waited about two months to tell Congress about the lost emails, and said “I don’t think an apology is owed” for his actions. On Monday, Koskinen’s answers were no better, which prompted Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa to reply, “My time has expired and I’ve lost my patience with you.”
Also Wednesday, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) proposed a handful of resolutions calling on President Barack Obama to give to Congress all emails between Lerner and the White House, Attorney General, Federal Election Commission, and the Departments of Defense and Treasury.
Read the bill from Flores and Gohmert: