A Nebraska Congressman says Congress must thoroughly investigate allegations that the IRS targeted conservative political groups when determining tax-exempt status, especially in light of claims the agency has lost the emails of a key player in the investigation.
Congressman Adrian Smith sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee charged with writing tax laws and lately, with investigating allegations leveled against the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS had already drawn harsh criticism from Republicans for reportedly giving the tax-exempt paperwork from conservative groups extra scrutiny. The IRS is accused of being especially harsh on the requests for tax-exempt status filed by any groups associated with the Tea Party.
Now, the agency claims emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the heart of the controversy, have been lost; forever. The IRS says all records of the emails from the last two years are gone, including computer hard drives that would have had back-up copies. The IRS says those drives have been recycled.
Smith, a Republican, defends the investigation against criticism by Democrats, pointing out everyone acknowledges the IRS made mistakes in its handling of tax-exempt status.
“But when the federal government applies a bias through the IRS; that’s why this is not just some little shuffling of paperwork mistake that some would like to describe it as,” Smith tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Smith says every member of Congress needs to be concerned about the investigation. He points out the party in charge of the powerful agency could change once the party of the person elected president changes.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this story.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]