By Bernie Becker - 06/29/14 09:29 AM EDT
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Sunday that the White House had never been a central focus of his committee’s investigation into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.
Issa has been investigating the IRS since shortly after former agency official Lois Lerner apologized for the IRS’s treatment of conservative organizations in May 2013. Congressional investigations into the IRS have intensified since the agency said Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011, leaving them unable to reproduce some of her emails over the previous two years.
Some Republicans have linked the IRS’s treatment of conservative groups to the White House, especially in the days just after Lerner’s apology. GOP investigators have since said that President Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision pressured the IRS into singling out the Tea Party. Democrats have pointedly said for months there’s no evidence of political motivation, or involvement outside the IRS.
On Sunday, Issa also said that Lerner should have known to print out emails that were official IRS documents, after the nation’s top archivist said last week that the agency didn’t follow the Federal Records Act.
But Issa also acknowledged that there was no proof that Lerner intentionally crashed her own hard drive, though many Republicans have questioned the IRS’s timeline. The IRS has said that Lerner’s hard drive has since been destroyed, and Issa said “we’ll probably never know” how exactly it crashed.
“I don’t think anyone on my committee has ever said she deliberately crashed her computer,” Issa said.