‘Big Three’ Ignore IRS Official Saying Backup of Lois Lerner’s Emails May Not Exist

On Monday, IRS deputy associate chief council Thomas Kane told the House Oversight Committee that he is unsure whether or not backup tapes of the lost Lois Lerner emails exist.

Despite the potential bombshell surrounding the investigation into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, all three network evening news shows, ABC’s World News with Diane SawyerCBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and the NBC Nightly News, ignored the revelations on Monday, July 21. 

According to Politico’s Rachael Bade

“I don’t know if there is a backup tape with information on it or there isn’t,” he told investigators Thursday, according to a partial transcript released by Oversight Republicans on Monday. The IRS official suggested new information has come to light since the IRS revealed in a June 13 letter to Congress that two year’s worth of Lerner’s emails were lost in a 2011 computer crash.

Lerner was the head of the tax exempt division that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny and has since become a lightning rod for Republicans probing the matter.

The IRS had said no copies of Lerner’s correspondence were available because the IRS at the time only backed up emails for six months on tapes — then recycled the tapes for reuse. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen also testified to the matter before lawmakers. Kane suggested that might not be the case.


Republicans jumped on the new testimony to push their contention that the IRS is obstructing their probe into added scrutiny given to tea party groups seeking tax breaks, first called out in May 2013 by Lerner and then in a critical report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

“Finding out that IRS Commissioner Koskinen jumped the gun in reporting to Congress that the IRS ‘confirmed’ all back-up tapes had been destroyed makes me even more suspicious of why he waited months to inform Congress about lost Lois Lerner e-mails,” said Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in a statement.

Instead of covering the latest in the IRS scandal, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer mentioned a family in Massachusetts that came in close contact with a great white shark while boating near Cape Cod. NBC Nightly News hyped how the United States experienced its 33rd hottest June on record. 

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.