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October 08, 2013

Mens Rea: Lois Lerner Sent Confidential Taxpayer Information Through Private Emails

Why is that important? Consciousness of guilt. It is a well-known trick of our Federal Masters that they will resort to using private emails -- safely immune from automatic record-keeping, and generally not subpoenaed (unless you know exactly what you're looking for) -- for their more, um, controversial missives.

We knew she had the actus reus -- the guilty act. But she could always say "Serious You Guys, I didn't know the rules, I made a mistake."

But here now the mens rea, the guilty mind. Why does this illegal activity just happen to occur in private email, if not due to knowledge it is in fact illegal?

Senior Internal Revenue Service officials—including one at the heart of the IRS “targeting” scandal—violated agency policies and possibly federal records laws by using private email to send confidential taxpayer information, the GOP-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said in a letter.

In a Sept. 30 letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel obtained by the Free Beacon, Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R., Calif.) said an investigation revealed a “troubling pattern” of at least four top IRS officials using their private email addresses to relay confidential tax information.

“This not only raises the prospect of violations of the Federal Records Act but it also raises data security concerns and violates internal IRS policies,” Issa wrote to Werfel.


IRS policies prohibit employees from sending confidential taxpayer information through non-official channels. Federal statutes also strictly prohibit the IRS from releasing taxpayer information.

Additionally, federal employees are prohibited from using private email accounts to conduct official business, unless they copy their official accounts on such messages to ensure they are properly recorded.

If she didn't know that what she was doing was either contrary to policy or actually illegal -- a claim I expect her to make -- then why did it just so happen these actions were performed on her No One Knows private email account?

I tend to believe a guy who says "I didn't know this was wrong" when he does it right out in the open. When he takes efforts at concealment, then I'm not willing to believe he didn't know it was wrong.

In addition, you will not be surprised to learn that IRS officials did not inform Congressional investigators about these emails, although the knew about them, and despite being repeatedly asked for them.

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posted by Ace at 06:11 PM

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