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After Non-Profit Application Furor, IRS Says It's Lost 2 Years Of Lerner's Email

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the computer-crashed-whaddya-do dept.

Democrats 372

As reported by the Associated Press, via US News & World Report, the IRS says that it cannot locate much of the email sent by a former IRS official over a two-year period. "The IRS told Congress Friday it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year. Lerner headed the IRS division that processed applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS acknowledged last year that agents had improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status by tea party and other conservative groups." Three congressional committees are investigating the agency because of the allegations of politically motivated mishandling of those applications, as is the Justice Department and the IRS's own inspector general. As the story says, "Congressional investigators have shown that IRS officials in Washington were closely involved in the handling of tea party applications, many of which languished for more than a year without action. But so far, they have not publicly produced evidence that anyone outside the agency directed the targeting or even knew about it." CBS News has a slightly different version, also based on the AP's reporting.

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372 comments

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Yawn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233725)

When are we going to get an investigation of Darrell Issa and his empty witch hunts?

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 2 months ago | (#47233735)

As soon as the Obama administration lives up to their promise of being the most transparent administration in the history of the ministry of truth

because nobody (0, Troll)

publiclurker (952615) | about 2 months ago | (#47234083)

can be transparent enough when they are black, right?

Re:because nobody (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234169)

Mod parent flamebait.

Re:because nobody (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234199)

Unjustified accusations of racism are just as vile and despicable as racism itself, and should be condemned to the same degree.

You ass.

Re:because nobody (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234235)

Awwww. Isn't that sweet? Little bitchtard here comes running to defend Obama. What a sweet little goosestepper.
 
Go take another one up the ass for the fraud of the century.

Re:Yawn (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234195)

They seem to divulge too much information, sometimes. My understanding from this IRS issue, is that these tea party groups were filing for a special non-profit status that has a specific social improvement goal of the non-profit, which did not align with the purpose/description of said non-profit status (plainly opposite in many cases if they are trying to stop social improvements like immigration reform).

So it seemed like the government released this information that they are doing their job properly, which the media goes nuts that it was a political witchhunt. It was not. It was purely being extra careful of a flood of applications for a non-profit that was much higher than previous years. The focus was on the type of applicant and the status applied, not the name or who applied.

I always understood the IRS to look for patterns and anomalies, and when there are anomalies, investigate them because they are likely fraud. So, based on my understanding from reading up on this last year, I sided with the IRS.

Re:Yawn (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 months ago | (#47234227)

"The focus was on the type of applicant and the status applied,"

That, AC, is precisely the complaint. They were a certain type of applicant. Politically Conservative

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 months ago | (#47234215)

I would settle for this Administration following the rule of law.

Re: Yawn (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233743)

The messiah of transparency fails yet again. In the private sector, incompetency like this would be a career-killer. In government, though, it's business as usual.

Re: Yawn (4, Insightful)

Onuma (947856) | about 2 months ago | (#47233789)

Incorrect. This is how they promote people.

Re: Yawn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233829)

Modded down by someone who loves to bend over for Obama.
 
Fucking makes me sick to see you fucks worship this motherfucker.

Re: Yawn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234025)

Only the slashtard crowd loves him. Most people realize by now that he's petty, egotistical beyond belief, incompetent, and has nothing but contempt for the US.
The "Emperor" has no clothes!

Re: Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234095)

I'm curious, what is your opinion of George W. Bush? Because liberals said pretty much the same thing about him and conservatives would always say "Why do you hate so much?"

Why do you hate so much?

Re:Yawn (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about 2 months ago | (#47233899)

I was going to reply then realized it was an Anonymous Coward. Is it me or are there a lot more Anonymous Cowards inside and outside Slashdot.org?

Re:Yawn (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47234101)

/b/ is causing the Internet to vibrate at a fundamental frequency and the harmonics are hitting Slashdot rather hard.

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47234127)

There seems to be a cabal of people who will spend all their mod points modding everything on your posting history down if they find you posted something they find particularly offensive. This causes a lot of people to post controversial stufff as AC.

There are also groups of people like groupies who follow topics in order to impress a particular viewpoint that seems to match their worldview. Both seem to be problems on Slashdot in the last couple of years.

You will find that with the retaliation that seems to be going on in today's environment, people just don't want their online persona associated with something controversial. There is the mass down modding to ruin your karma and restrict your posting abilities but also take Mozilla for instance. They canned a new CEO (who had been working for them in other offices since their inception) for something he did 8 years ago that had the majority support of his community at the time. What will you be driven away from or refused or jailed or whatever retaliation that happens in 8 years over a comment you made today or yesterday?

Re:Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234141)

Dear Whiney Asshole:

Enjoy the mod bombs. I have about 13 of them, and they're heading your way.

Re:Yawn (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47234181)

lol.. IF that is what it takes to make your pathetic life worth living another day, so be it.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234213)

Yes, the 50+ anonymous cowards in this thread are shaking at the thought of your 13 mod points.

Thanks for helping nigger up the country. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233933)

Thanks for fucking the country, liberals. This man has, is, and will continue to do what niggers do best, which is nigger the place up. And it's YOUR fault.

I mean, the man's middle name is "HUSSEIN" for fuck's sake. I know, I know, the only choice was between an old dude and the ludicrous Palin.... or SOMEONE FUCKING NAMED "HUSSEIN". Gee, I wonder what I should do? I know! I'll vote for HUSSEIN!!!!! Better that than someone who thinks they can see Russia from their fucking living room, right? Hawhawhawhaw!!!!

Thanks for helping nigger up the country. It's done. It's finished. And it's YOUR fault.

Re:Thanks for helping nigger up the country. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234109)

It should be pointed out that Obama did not win the majority of white vote in either election. It was because blacks, being the simple fucks that they are, voted en masse for Obama that he is president... if they voted like a normal person instead of an ape, Obama would NOT be president.

Very fishy (5, Insightful)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 2 months ago | (#47233741)

I'd love to see what she would say to a taxpayer "losing" 2 years of receipts during an audit.

I think that "my bad" wouldn't be enough.

Re:Very fishy (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 months ago | (#47233819)

I'd love to see what she would say to a taxpayer "losing" 2 years of receipts during an audit.

I think that "my bad" wouldn't be enough.

Welcome to the realities of asymmetric power.

Re:Very fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233825)

Been there, they don't take much anything as an explanation during audit.

Audit time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233745)

Do you think they'd take that as an excuse during an audit?
    Isn't the default to assume that they said what they were assumed to have said at the worst in these cases.

Re:Audit time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233811)

But it's the IRS, they'd never lie to anybody

Janusz Muzykant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233753)

Only one thing i can say - it's sad, but only words are good for us.
  http://www.wordreaders.com [wordreaders.com]

Oh Well There's Your Problem (5, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 months ago | (#47233757)

Oh her computer crashed did it? Did you try looking on the server where you keep the mail, and not on her computer?

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47233779)

I think it's POP3 for a very convenient reason.

"Oops, lost my shit...oh well" Yeah, real fucking convenient.

NSA should have a copy somewhere in Utah (4, Insightful)

JonathanR (852748) | about 2 months ago | (#47234205)

Amazing how ineffective these intelligence agencies are when the issue in question goes against the absolute power agenda...

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (3, Insightful)

Copid (137416) | about 2 months ago | (#47233913)

Last time I worked for a big corporation with a large IT department, we had a ridiculously small total space limit for emails stored on our server. It always seemd ridiculous to me until a senior IT guy said that it's basically for legal discovery reasons. As long as you have a policy of purging everything from your servers on a certain schedule (or based on size limits or some other reasonable variable that's not explicilty "purge the email because we're about to be sued"), you can minimize your what's available for discovery when somebody takes you to court and demands "all emails pertaining to X." You give them what you have on the server and odds are good that the employee hasn't kept copies of anything too old on thier PC, so if the opposition tries to drag out stuff from more than a year or so back, they're usually out of luck.

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47234007)

The government has days retention laws though, this should not be an issue, it should be on a server or on backups, also they have the resources to recover from a bad hdd

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47234013)

Strong, not days...damn phone

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234021)

I work for a large law firm. We have no mailbox size limits and few few email retention limits. If is not in your sent items or inbox, it is unlimited. We don't fit any of the common models for Exchange performance sizing with disk, CPU, replication, etc because of our extremely large mailboxes are so far out of whack from what vendors consider normal..

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (3, Informative)

daninaustin (985354) | about 2 months ago | (#47234243)

Same here but i work for an insurance company and do searches for legal discovery all the time. We journal everything and keep it forever ( i think it's the same way for most regulated companies now.) It's highly suspicious that they can't find this data. I can find any email sent or received going back many years and i can do it within a week (usually within hours.) either their email/archiving system is completely fucked or someone is not telling the truth. Either way, there should also be a paper record unless Lois was intentionally violating policy. If someone knows anything about the IRS email architecture it would be helpful. Anyone know what email system they are on? I assume it's Exchange but it wouldn't make much difference if it's Notes/Domino (it might actually make it easier to recover from tape.) they must have some type of email archiving system. One other thing. from the IRS's own documents, employees are required to make paper copies for FOIA . http://www.irs.gov/irm/part1/i... [irs.gov] 1.10.3.2.3 (07-08-2011) Emails as Possible Federal Records All federal employees and federal contractors are required by law to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Records must be properly stored and preserved, available for retrieval and subject to appropriate approved disposition schedules. The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are: Created or received in the transaction of agency business Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities, or Valuable because of the information they contain If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy. More information on IRS records management requirements is available at http://erc.web.irs.gov/Display... [irs.gov] or see the Records Management Handbook, IRM 1.15.1 http://publish.no.irs.gov/IRM/... [irs.gov] ). An email determined to be a federal record may eventually be considered as having historical value by the National Archivist prior to disposal. Therefore, ensure that all your communications are professional in tone. Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (4, Funny)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 months ago | (#47234069)

I'd bet the NSA has all of them. They collect everyone's.

Re:Oh Well There's Your Problem (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 2 months ago | (#47234107)

Wish I had mod points; that joke is rapidly getting old, but I still thought it was funny here.

massive govt agency, no backups... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233761)

anyone buy that? all the agencies I worked for had everything tracked across multiple machines. big IT contracts to manage the systems, including backups.

massive govt agency, no backups... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233803)

Yep. Probably an Exchange setup with .pst files saved on the local machine.

Re:massive govt agency, no backups... (-1, Troll)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 months ago | (#47233807)

anyone buy that?

Just keep hitting "Check for New Comments" bro..... watch our libtards offer all manner of cockamamy scenarios and rationalizations.

Re:massive govt agency, no backups... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233925)

I love stories that involve American politics. Both sides are so fucking retarded, it's like watching a Downs Syndrome All Comers Boxing match.

Re:massive govt agency, no backups... (0)

superwiz (655733) | about 2 months ago | (#47233939)

I think those emails were personally erased by Bush tax cuts coming life as a Cheney-strain Faux Neus virus.

"libtards"? really? (1)

Isara (869637) | about 2 months ago | (#47234015)

is that really necessary? You mean to say that not going into breathless suppositions about grand conspiracies is "libtarded"? Because, y'know, even in government, it's not always a conspiracy.

Oh. Right. I forgot. Benghahhhhhhzzzzziiiiiii!!!!!

Seriously, just once I would like to see some sort of conversation about the governmental system not devolve into name-calling. It makes it a lot easier to have productive conversations that way :/

Re:massive govt agency, no backups... (1)

quantaman (517394) | about 2 months ago | (#47234125)

anyone buy that?

Just keep hitting "Check for New Comments" bro..... watch our libtards offer all manner of cockamamy scenarios and rationalizations.

Fine.

Develop an ideology that demonizes every government employee and agency except for the military.

Now motivated by said ideology and a desire to fight corruption introduce a massive number of regulations that make it impossible to do things efficiently.

Finally head said agencies with political appointees instead of the best available candidates with applicable experience.

Now reap your reward. A bloated ineffective inefficient government, and a government that regularly fails to properly implement basic things like proper record keeping because there's so many regs it's hard to fail at only the unimportant ones.

No government organization is flawless, heck, no organization period is flawless. But there's a reason that the US more than others manages to be really bad at it.

Rationalization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234151)

There you go. It's all a mistake because republicans tax cuts regulations.

Here's how DSM-IV defines rationalization; "when the individual deals with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by concealing the true motivations for his or her own thoughts, actions, or feelings through the elaboration of reassuring or self serving but incorrect explanations."

You're exhibiting a symptom of possible metal disorder. Seek help.

Janusz Muzykant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233765)

What is the source of this information ? By The Way ?

Re:Janusz Muzykant (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about 2 months ago | (#47233909)

I was going to reply then realized it was an Anonymous Coward. Is it me or are there a lot more Anonymous Cowards inside and outside Slashdot.org?

You're right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233949)

You're right. There are a lot more mod trolls than there used to be. Not as bad as Ars Technica, but getting there.

These days smart people with something to say go the AC route. Or leave for |. or SG.

I propose an experiment (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47234037)

I propose an experiment. Run one article per day that allows no moderations. I'd suggest it be a political subject, as moderations are useless in those anyway.

Everyone's Personal Email Server (4, Funny)

reynols (82982) | about 2 months ago | (#47233785)

The IRS told Congress Friday it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year.

Wow! I didn't know the IRS had personal email servers on every individuals personal computer, where all copies of a persons email sent and retrieved is kept and deleted from everywhere else.

The rest of us just use shared central email servers where multiple copies of everyone's email is kept, backed up daily. Boy, are we out of touch with reality!

Re:Everyone's Personal Email Server (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47233833)

I have no idea what their e-mail server is. If it's MS Exchange, I believe the default retention period for deleted items is 14 days. Though in reality, the local OST file may keep that longer (un-indexed and hidden) depending on how much activity there is. But that would require some 3rd party utility to dig for it. Also, the mailbox size could be restricted to force clients to rely on local Archive.PST files. That's one way of keeping it from being stored centrally for too long. Whack the PST and deny the whole thing. Again, some 3rd party utility such as 'Recuva' could find it if the deletion was recent enough (and not corrupted with over-writes)

If OTOH it's a POP3 server, yeah, the server doesn't store shit for the client initiation unless the client tells the server to leave a copy.

Re:Everyone's Personal Email Server (5, Informative)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 months ago | (#47233901)

The Federal Records Act requires retention of records. That email is a "record" for statutory purposes is a long settled matter. Conducting government business on a system with a retention period of 14 days and no archive is a crime.

It's your banana republic government either deliberately neglecting their obligation to preserve or destroying evidence or both. There aren't any plausible alternatives.

Enjoy.

Re:Everyone's Personal Email Server (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47233977)

It's your banana republic government

I never voted for this current administration. But what the fuck do I know, I'm only in the minority here. But to answer your question: yeah, we're pretty much fucked. But thank you for being honest anyways.

BTW, I don't care anymore. Let it all burn down!!! Fuck it.

We'll its Bush's fault (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234149)

The Federal Records Act requires retention of records. That email is a "record" for statutory purposes is a long settled matter. Conducting government business on a system with a retention period of 14 days and no archive is a crime.

It's your banana republic government either deliberately neglecting their obligation to preserve or destroying evidence or both. There aren't any plausible alternatives.

Enjoy.

"Prior to 2011" corresponds to when the Bush administration switched email systems without including an automated archiver.
http://fcw.com/articles/2010/01/19/web-white-house-email-system-details.aspx?m=2 [fcw.com]

On the other hand, I've worked in NARA and I've worked with Records Officers in cabinet-level agencies and you're smoking some medical grade stuff if you think any but a handful of emails that aren't sent to or from the a White House are required by the FRA to be archived.

Re:We'll its Bush's fault (1)

laird (2705) | about 2 months ago | (#47234237)

Wow, the parent company was modded to zero despite being relevant, factual, and linking to more info. What pathetic person is so afraid of these facts that they mod them down instead of engaging in a rational discussion?

Re:Everyone's Personal Email Server (3, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 2 months ago | (#47233929)

It's the IIII RRRRR SSSSS. You know.... the people who get electronic records of all executed buy/sell orders of all the public exchanges... among other electronic documents that they manage of infinitely higher complexity than an email server. Yeah, crashing computers is NOT the reason they don't have those emails. This isn't kindergarten. IRS losing a Summer's worth of emails of a supervisor-level employee doesn't even work as a science fiction scenario.

Re:Everyone's Personal Email Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233915)

Spaz click on mod. Was aiming for 'insightful'. Sorry.

Don't worry... (1)

Onuma (947856) | about 2 months ago | (#47233793)

Don't worry. The NSA has it all filed away.

As the others are saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233799)

Lost your data? It used to be that your dog ate it. Wait, this still hold: the dog ate my mail server. Yeah, he found a way and he did it. He went into the cloud and ate it. What's so unbelievable about that? People believe all kinds of crazy shit and will do your head in if you challenge them.

The corruption is amazing (4, Insightful)

SocietyoftheFist (316444) | about 2 months ago | (#47233809)

Everybody should be depressed and angry but they are complacent. New chief executive, same ole shit. Corruption and lies.

Re:The corruption is amazing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233845)

But.... but.... but.... BUSH!!!!!!

Re:The corruption is amazing (0)

GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) | about 2 months ago | (#47234055)

Well, Lois Lerner was appointed by Bush in 2006.

Re:The corruption is amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234219)

You missed the point about chief executive.
 
What a limp attempt at misdirection.
 
Asshole.

Slashdot editors doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233813)

Really love the job you gu

1913 - federal reserve and IRS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233835)

never forget

get these jew fuck's tentacles out of the US economy and put it back into the hands of the US treasury

you know exactly what I'm talking about

Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (2)

Isara (869637) | about 2 months ago | (#47233841)

Actually, even knowing what little I do of federal IT infrastructure, this doesn't surprise me. I'm actually surprised they HAVE email :P

Seriously, I have a feeling they set up local email accounts, thought archiving was too difficult or expensive to implement, and called it a day - 20 years ago.

And for the record, targeting political organizations wasn't isolated to conservative groups, and the only application rejected was for a progressive organization.

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (2)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 2 months ago | (#47233887)

Yes,
Just like you can say that there has never been a oil pipeline that has been rejected either. By not quickly approving simple applications and letting them linger for years - you effectively reject the application, without the political backlash of having to actually do it. I would assume it was a simple progressive organization that didn't qualify for the tax break - it was quickly rejected so they can fix their problem, or get back to doing what they should be doing.

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (-1, Flamebait)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 2 months ago | (#47233941)

Lost in this whole discussion is whether the Tea Party deserves tax-exempt status in the first place.

The law says groups granted such status must engage in activities exclusively for the public good.

The IRS guidelines softened that to primarily for the public good.

Arguably, many Tea-Party groups fail both criteria. And probably so do a number of political organizations over the spectrum from left to right.

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47234049)

Bullshit, its all irrelevant to the issue at hand. The irs specifically targeted groups they didnt like and asked them to jump through hoops.which were highly illegal. For example you cant ask them for their member list, or if they are religious, all things asked. If they did the same thing to socialsts communists black panthers gay groups women groups or the kkk, id still feel the same, this shouldnt be partisain, unless you beleive it was ok and that makes it ok when the other side has the whitehouse...remember that

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234163)

Bullshit, its all irrelevant to the issue at hand. The irs specifically targeted groups they didnt like

No, the IRS specifically targeted groups that don't like the IRS. I still think it was wrong (only in the sense that I think the IRS should have applied the same strict scrutiny to other groups), but it's not political to suspect that vocally anti-IRS groups might play fast and lose when it comes to complying with IRS regulations.

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47234165)

Actually they did the same thing to socialist etc. groups. In fact the only group that was actually denied a tax exemption was a progressive church.

But don't let facts bother you.

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (1)

Isara (869637) | about 2 months ago | (#47233945)

that's a good point, although it appears that the organization that was rejected during this point of time was rejected after it had already received its non-profit designation [salon.com] . It's pretty rare for the IRS to retroactively reverse a 501c3 status, except when it fails to file the proper paperwork.

I've not read what I'm sure are mounds of news articles about this "scandal" but I suspect that the IRS staff involved decided to audit all partisan groups to make sure they should be 527s instead of 501c3s.

correction (1)

Isara (869637) | about 2 months ago | (#47233955)

It's pretty rare for the IRS to retroactively reverse a 501c3 status, except when it fails to file the proper paperwork.

I've not read what I'm sure are mounds of news articles about this "scandal" but I suspect that the IRS staff involved decided to audit all partisan groups to make sure they should be 527s instead of 501c3s.

correction on my part - They were 501c4s, not c3s. (I work with c3s, so I tend to forget other types exist ;)

Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234137)

Seriously, I have a feeling they set up local email accounts, thought archiving was too difficult or expensive to implement, and called it a day - 20 years ago.

Maybe so, but that means that the IRS has not been diligent about obeying the law. They are a government agency and are required to keep records.

As others have said, if you are audited by the IRS, the IRS won't let you get away with saying "Oops, my records were lost, sorry." The IRS must not be allowed to do this.

People must at a minimum be fired with no pension, but probably people should be in prison for this. The IRS has tremendous powers, and in return the IRS is expected to limit its activities to simply collecting the taxes owed. When Nixon asked the IRS to give him dirt on his enemies, they quite rightly told him to fuck off. Now we have found out that the current IRS politicized itself to help Obama. This isn't a fuzzy sort-of technical rules violation... they crossed multiple bright red lines. Prison.

And for the record, targeting political organizations wasn't isolated to conservative groups, and the only application rejected was for a progressive organization.

Absolute fucking bullshit. Either you are misinformed or you are a shill... which is it?

We know that groups with "tea party" and "freedom" in their names were targeted. No such targeting rules were found for groups with "progressive" in their names.

Multiple Tea Party groups were talking to their Congressmen, asking for help. No progressive groups were. That story about progressive groups being targeted is just a retroactive cover-up story, in short, a lie. Are you going to swallow the lie?

The IRS managed to harass and delay and defer the Tea Party for over two years, enough to defang them right before an election. That's tampering with the voting process as the progressive groups were not similarly hampered. Are you not absolutely fucking outraged over this? I am.

Ah ha! (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 months ago | (#47233849)

The classic "My dog ate my homework" defense! Nicely played!

dumdems never learn. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233859)

Clinton was impeached for being a LYING scumbag, not for being a scumbag.
Really, how dumb are you guys?

Still 80 columns for a headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233861)

Come on, it's 2014. And beta. Seriously.

When do we burn the witches??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233885)

God! This is taking forever. Can we just skip to the burning part of the witch hunt?

Re:When do we burn the witches??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47233905)

Agreed! Bitches are witches. You light, or shall I?

Not on my servers (3, Informative)

BobandMax (95054) | about 2 months ago | (#47233911)

I spec'ed, installed and managed mail servers for several organizations and this never happened on my watch. We had this magical power called "backups" that insulated us from user ineptitude and malfeasance. Another item is the "ten million dollars" to retrieve emails and documents. I was asked to provide several years of emails and documents involving eleven employees and specific criteria for a lawsuit. Legal had it in their hands within two days and that involved pulling and selectively restoring the identified tapes and burning to DVD. I call bullshit.

Re:Not on my servers (3, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47234225)

If you think that the Government does not have backups, you are sorely mistaken. Federal regulation requires backups and maintenance of backups of all mail data. Durations may vary slightly between certain divisions, but in almost all cases this is required and not optional.

That said, the issue is what regulations have they broken if in fact they are claiming correctly that a persons computer was configured and managed illegally? Followed immediately by "Who is going to lose their job in addition to Lois Lerner?" I have a feeling that if jail time is threatened for management and employees responsible for mismanagement, backups may magically appear.

Then again, they could be telling the truth which should not prevent the termination of employees failing to follow regulation and law. Simple solutions to these types of problems have huge impact on future cases.

umm (3, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 2 months ago | (#47233919)

Were those her emails to herself? Otherwise, they went through servers. This isn't a school board email server.... it's the IRS. Does anyone seriously think they don't have copious records of all the documents? My dog ate my homework? If you are gonna post any kind of credible reply to this, don't be an AC. Any AC reply to this will be assume to be coming from the legal staff of the Criminal Democratic Party.

Re:umm (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47234121)

I think it's quite possible if she was using something stupid like Outlook on Windows XP, and had a limited quota on an Exchange server.

Those monstrosities were horrific in terms of reliability and local mail stores based on .PST formats are notorious for being fragile, easy to corrupt and difficult to backup.

This is corporate / government IT from hell.

Re:umm (2)

dissy (172727) | about 2 months ago | (#47234189)

and had a limited quota on an Exchange server.

In reality there are two sides to their exchange configuration: how it technically works, and how it legally works.
Being the US government however that means there is only "How it works" which is an alias for how it legally works (How it technically works might as well be magic)

http://www.archives.gov/record... [archives.gov]

Installing exchange server and not raising the default retention period is a criminal act.
Actually, I'm pretty sure not installing a backup package to work around exchange store limitations would also count as a criminal act, but it may just be negligence or something instead of willful destruction of records.

Of course as you mentioned, if they would have gone a step further above zero-point on the server side setup, XP/outlook/PSTs wouldn't even need to be involved in the matter.
The very fact the even mention the client PC crashing implies that isn't the case.

Personally coming from a long line of competent IT work, it's a tiny bit shocking it was even a thought to go look at the client PC... That's the kind of thing one should only resort to if/when the exchange shit hits the bit-bucket fan. At my organization that would be called "unexpected disaster recovery plan C"

Sadly I very much doubt the person responsible for information and technology will be held responsible for their crimes.
If the PC didn't get the blame, then some poor outsourced Indian fella would have been one more addition for the no fly list instead :/

This worked for the NSA (4, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 2 months ago | (#47233967)

Snowden said he sent emails to the appropriate internal authorities before he went rogue, and the NSA said they couldn't find them. Everyone in the political establishment believed the NSA version. Now the IRS says that they can't find emails because of a technical problem, and no one believes them.

The NSA are professional liars. They've been caught lying about a huge number of things: spying on friendly foreign leaders, mass phone surveillance on everyone in the USA, modifying routers before they are shipped overseas, etc.

Double standard much? Who is more likely to be lying: the NSA or the IRS? Everyone in Washington are going after the IRS. Committees are meeting, IRA officials are testifying under oath, criminal investigations have been started. Higher ups at the IRA are going to be forced out, and there will be criminal charges. The same thing is also going to occur with the Veteran's Administration scandal.

Meanwhile over at the NSA, the sound of crickets. They claim that their own secret investigations have found they did everything right. Somehow this seems good enough. No one has been called to task. Even the people responsible for letting Snowden get access to all that information seem to be off the hook.

As bad as the IRS and VA situations are, they pale in comparison to the NSA situation and yet nothing has happened as a result. It's business as usual. The NSA is completely unaccountable to anybody for anything, and when they do screw up nothing happens to any insiders. This is guaranteed to result in a culture of incompetence. We are in big trouble.

Re:This worked for the NSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234039)

The organization which was caught wiretapping congress/Dianne Feinstein's staff is beyond reproach? It's almost as if they had career-ending blackmail on everyone with any oversight authority... Who could have predicted warrantless wiretapping was a threat to the democratic process? If it wasn't, nobody would want to do it!

Re:This worked for the NSA (4, Insightful)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 2 months ago | (#47234041)

Everyone in the political establishment believed the NSA version. Now the IRS says that they can't find emails because of a technical problem, and no one believes them.

Because the NSA watches over us to protect our freedoms, and they're the good guys. The IRS takes away our money, so they're the bad guys. See? Not that difficult to understand.

Re:This worked for the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234063)

...and the NSA said they couldn't find them. Everyone in the political establishment believed the NSA version.

Everyone? Over-generalize much?

Who is more likely to be lying: the NSA or the IRS?

That's like asking which is more likely to be a deeper shade of black, the pot or the kettle.
Don't be an apologist for two incompetent and corrupt agencies while lambasting a third. All three need massive changes.

Re:This worked for the NSA (0)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 months ago | (#47234117)

Where are my mod points? +1

Re:This worked for the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234155)

Snowden said he sent emails...

That doesn't mean he actually did.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234031)

Who doesn't run exchange or some form of IMAP, especially in a government function? I smell bullshit.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234161)

ditto

How bad the computer crashed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234053)

Do they mean literally down the stairs? Because I'm pretty sure if they simply reboot the computer they can read the emails again.

No they haven't (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 months ago | (#47234073)

I find that with a rotation of admins, various screwups, machine upgrades, damaged media, etc. That legacy data tends to just lie around for decades. Generally most data security is during disposal with various mandates such as old hard drives being fed into atomic shredders. But if the server was pulled from the rack and put into a to-be-refurbished pile then it can easily exist in the back of the admin's closet. Or someone doing an inventory will say, "Hey, here is machine 53B, this machine doesn't exist in our list, I wonder what is on it?"

And the myth persists in the media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234077)

The IRS targeted groups of all political stripes. If you filed for tax-exempt status and it looked based on keywords that you were really a political group, then you got sent for further evaluation.

The IRS reported to Congress that it targeted conservative groups because Congress asked the IRS the question: "Are you targeting conservative non-profits?"

Yet today, years after the fact and investigations into the matter that detailed the broader non-partisan scope of the flagging, we still have the media parroting that this was only about conservative groups.

Re:And the myth persists in the media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234197)

You really should do yourself a favor and read... or perhaps just skim the Inspector General's report... which does say that it was primarily conservative groups which were being targeted.

Re:And the myth persists in the media (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47234209)

100% of groups affiliated with Tea Party were not given then status over a 3 year period, a process that is guarnteed to take no more than 90 days according to IRS.
Of liberal groups, 4 were treated the same.

Of individuals affiliated with the Tea Party groups 10% of them have had their personal taxes audited. The IRS currently audits less than 1% of filiers.

Lois Learner released the tax information and lists of members of these Tea Party groups to liberal organizations, illegally. This one has not been disputed.

Go ahead and keep pretending its not an issue, you are just bragging you are ignorant.

Obama trumps Nixon! (4, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 months ago | (#47234079)

Two years of emails?!? Nixon only lost 18 1/2 minutes of the Watergate Tapes and he had to resign.

How's the Slashdot candidate working out for you? (0)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 2 months ago | (#47234217)

So smart. So ethical. And he has binders on everyone, not just women.

You must be so proud.

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