Pelosi Downplays Missing IRS Emails While Boehner Calls for Answers (Video)
Posted at 12:45 p.m. on June 19, 2014
Pelosi, D-Calif., says revelations that the IRS lost emails sought by Congress likely means the tax agency needs better computer equipment. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn’t appear to think that there was foul play in the Internal Revenue Service’s misplacement of key emails from Lois Lerner, the ex-agency official at the center of the ongoing IRS scandal.
At her weekly press conference Thursday morning, the California Democrat said her takeaway from reports that Lerner’s emails have been lost forever was simply that the IRS needs to upgrade its technology infrastructure.
“What it convinces me of is they need a new technology system at the IRS,” Pelosi said, adding that Lerner’s emails were not the only ones missing after an alleged computer meltdown. “Reports all show that those responsible did not know about the years of the crashes of their systems until a couple of years later, so I think they need to upgrade their technology, get it right so there’s no suspicion about what agenda anyone might have.”
Pelosi also pointed out that the IRS has already turned over “something like 67,000 emails, so it’s not as if they are devoid of information.”
When asked about Pelosi’s comments, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was less forgiving of the IRS, saying that technology is the least of the agency’s problems and implied that the emails could have been destroyed on purpose.
“The president called this a phony scandal. But who could possibly believe that they lost two critical years of emails of the central figure in this investigation?” he asked.
“They need someone who will tell the truth,” he said, adding that there could be criminal wrongdoing. “I asked this a long time ago. I don’t want to know who was being investigated; I want to know who was going to jail. This is outrageous, and the White House has not lifted a finger to help us get to the bottom of this.”
House Democrats were concerned when they learned last year that the IRS was improperly targeting conservative outside groups seeking for tax-exempt, but have since been dismissive of what they call the House GOP’s “obsession” with drawing out its investigation. They place significant blame on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., for turning the probe into a “partisan witch hunt.”