By Jesse Byrnes - 06/26/14 10:31 AM EDT
Two Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill offering a $1 million reward to anyone who can recover former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails.
The Identify and Recover Sent E-Mails Act from Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) would also offer a $500,000 reward for information that leads to a criminal prosecution over the missing emails and would cut the pay of IRS employees by 20 percent until they are found.
“I find it very hard to believe that the emails from Lois Lerner are lost and unrecoverable," he added, calling the agency’s claims “convenient.”
GOP lawmakers are seeking Lerner’s emails for a probe into whether she directed IRS employees to target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
While the agency will hand over 67,000 emails from the former IRS official to investigators, a large number of her emails from 2009-2011 are missing, the agency told Congress this month, because of a computer hard drive crash.
Republicans insist the emails can be found and have accused the IRS of stonewalling their probe.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress Monday and denied that he misled lawmakers when he said that the agency would hand over Lerner’s emails.
"If you have a magical way for me to do that, I'd be happy to know about it," Koskinen said.
The bill’s reward money would come out of funds still available in the current IRS fiscal 2014 budget.
In 2012, Flores contacted the IRS over concerns raised by a Tea Party group in Waco, Texas.