Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch may have just thrown an explosive new fact into the the ongoing scandal over Lois Lerner’s missing emails. According to the organization’s president, Tom Fitton, Justice Department lawyers working on the case informed him on a Friday call that Lerner’s emails may be on the federal government’s own backup system, but that it would be “too onerous” to recover them.
Last time we checked in with the IRS scandal, Republicans were claiming that backup files on Lois Lerner’s hard drive might actually have been recoverable. Now, if Fitton is to be believed, they are still technically recoverable, despite repeated claims by IRS officials that they were gone forever. These claims are of course coming from partisan organizations; we shouldn’t rush to judgment, especially since the contents of Fitton’s Friday call have not yet been confirmed by other parties.
But if Fitton’s claim is true, then the IRS scandal really has arrived, and it is difficult not to conclude that we are dealing with a genuine constitutional crime. This wouldn’t be a matter of bribes or personal blackmail or sexual misconduct or any of the ordinary forms of corruption that are unfortunately far too common. Rather, it’s about the deliberate use of the power of the federal government to go after political opponents, and then a desperate attempt by others to cover it up. We’re still hoping that this story is exposed to a lot more light (and perhaps less heat), but the more we see, the worse and worse it looks.