Congressional investigators have run into another example of missing emails, this time at the Environmental Protection Agency, as federal officials tried to assure lawmakers they were doing all they could to extract data from the failed computer hard drive of a former employee.
"We may have some emails that we cannot produce that we should have kept," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who sparred repeatedly with Republicans at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday on everything from EPA pollution standards to subpoenas and the missing email example, which dealt with a controversial proposal for a gold and copper mine in Alaska.
"Did you notify the National Archives?" asked Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
"Yes, we did," McCarthy replied.
"When did you do that?"
"Yesterday," McCarthy answered, admitting that the EPA had done that after a dustup in the same committee the day before over the missing IRS emails.
"It looks like the Federal Records Act has been violated by the EPA," said Meadows in this exchange with McCarthy.
That exchange came as a separate panel, the House Appropriations Committee, approved a funding bill that covers the IRS; it cuts the IRS budget by $341 million next year - a move that Republicans argue was deserved.
"The actions of the Internal Revenue Service - lost e-mails and hard drives, targeting taxpayers based on political belief, agency employees not paying their taxes among them - have cast a dark shadow upon this agency’s reputation," said Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL).
Crenshaw added a provision on Wednesday to the bill that would prohibit the destruction of IRS records.
Crenshaw told me that bill should be voted on by the full House in July.
Meanwhile, a new email from ex-IRS official Lois Lerner emerged on Wednesday, which showed we wanted extra scrutiny of a sitting GOP Senator, Sen. Charles Grassley R-IA.
You can read the document on the website of the House Ways & Means Committee.
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