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Issa gives IRS a second chance to tell the truth on Lerner emails

FILE - This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday. The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner's computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File) AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has asked the IRS commissioner if he wants to revise his sworn testimony about the lost Lois Lerner emails, now that Lerner's lawyer has contradicted the commissioner.

Last month, Commissioner John Koskinen testified that Lerner printed out her emails as required under the Federal Records Act.

Ongoing questions about Lois Lerner's lost emails prompted House Republicans to ask the IRS again whether Lerner printed out those lost emails, or not. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

"My understanding is every employee is supposed to print records… that are official records on hard copy and keep them," he said. "She had hard copy records. I don't know whether anything that was lost was an official record or not."

But in a Wednesday letter to Koskinen, Issa notes a press report saying that Lerner's lawyer has said Lerner never printed out hard copies of her emails because she "did not think it was required."

Issa said that conflicting information demands a clarification, and asked whether Koskinen wants to revise his testimony.

"On one hand, you testified to the committee that Ms. Lerner kept a printed archive of federal records from her email, thus leaving you unsure if she ever fell out of compliance with the Federal Records Act," he wrote. "On the other hand, Ms. Lerner's attorney stated that she did not think she was required to maintain a printed archive and blamed Ms. Lerner's subordinates for any loss of records."

"[T]he committee would like to offer you the opportunity to amend your testimony that you have no idea 'whether anything that was lost was an official record or not' and acknowledge that Ms. Lerner did not follow policies necessary for Federal Records Act compliance that have obstructed the congressional investigation into the IRS's targeting," he wrote.

Issa asked Koskinen to say whether he stands by his statement from June, or if he wants to revise his statements. He also asked whether other IRS officials may have had the responsibility of printing out Lerner's emails, and the names of any officials who did that.

Republicans have been after Lerner's emails since last year, after she admitted the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status from the IRS.

While the IRS says it lost more than two years of Lerner's emails between her and people outside IRS headquarters, IRS regulations say employees are supposed to print out all emails that are public records. The rule sets the bar fairly low when it comes to defining the term "public record."

Read Issa's letter to Koskinen here:

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