Lois Lerner, the woman who decided to plead the Fifth in a Congressional hearing even though she was completely innocent of wrongdoing, might not be so innocent after all. Apparently she had been using her personal email for work communications. Of course many Americans do this in private industry, but given her position, that is not permitted, at all. For what should be obvious reasons, many governmental employees are forbidden from using personal email accounts for work communications, and vice versa. This has been an issue not only in the IRS, but throughout the entire administration, especially in the context of what happened in Benghazi when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Now, it seems that Lerner may be guilty of the same questionable activities as other administration department members.
House Republicans on Tuesday asked an IRS official at the center of their probe into the agency targeting Tea Party groups for documents related to her personal email account, after learning she allegedly used the account for official business.
The request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to official Lois Lerner states she sent documents related to her official duties from her IRS email account to an account labeled ‘Lois Home.’
“This raises some serious questions,” wrote committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “To understand the extent to which you may have used a non-official email account for official purposes, … we request that you produce all documents and communications housed in your msn.com account.”
Issa suggested such activity could violate federal records requirements, creates difficulties in filing Freedom of Information Act requests and “frustrates congressional oversight obligations.”
Beyond logistical issues for discovery in a Congressional investigation into the activities of Lerner’s office in regard to conservative organizations, this new development does not help her in her claims of innocence. Lerner should not be surprised if members of Congress start thinking that these communications were intentional, with the express purpose of hiding information. At the very least, it sheds doubt on her professionalism.