The time is long past for the appointment of a special prosecutor to see what kind of fire is burning beneath the smoke screen of excuses and buck-passing that is the IRS response to the very serious charge of misuse of its authority to chastise political opponents.
The IRS accusations first came to light about a year ago when it could not hide that tax-exempt applications were being screened to see if they were somehow connected with the tea party.
Though blame was pushed onto Lois Lerner, who resigned as head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit when she couldn’t push the blame down into the Cincinnati IRS office without it sticking to her, the investigation has remained ongoing.
Lerner has been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify and now comes the revelation that tens of thousands of her e-mails from a period crucial to the probe are missing.
The reason being given is a hard drive crash, but unlike most simple computer crashes, the data is unrecoverable. And as many as eight other IRS staff computers appear to have suffered similar fates.
Congress needs to get this probe immediately into the hands of a special prosecutor to determine who knew what and when, and who has acted to thwart investigations and questions being asked since as early as 2009.
Those missing e-mails sound suspiciously like erasures on the Nixon tapes.
Like those erasures didn’t stop the probes into Nixon’s misconduct, the missing e-mails shouldn’t be allowed to stand as an impediment to exposing the IRS and its activities to the light of day.
Steubenville (Ohio) Herald-Star