By Bernie Becker - 06/29/14 09:54 AM EDT
Former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lawyer said Sunday that Republicans were playing politics by latching on to his client’s lost emails.
“It’s convenient to have a demon to create,” Taylor said about his client, who has twice invoked Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination before the House Oversight Committee.
The IRS has said that Lerner’s hard drive has since been destroyed, and that it can’t recover all of her emails from 2009 to 2011. Congressional investigations into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups have heated up since the IRS reported the lost emails.
Taylor said that Lerner was as upset as anyone after her computer “screen went blue,” and that “she was as upset as anyone else about the loss of the emails.”
He also said that Lerner did not violate the Federal Records Act, just minutes after House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said she broke the law by not printing out all of her official documents. And Taylor declined to respond to Issa's claims that he had "outright lied" during the investigation.
“She did exactly what the IRS required,” Taylor said. “What’s a federal record is a subjective question.”
Republicans have also said that the two-year period in which Lerner’s emails are missing is a key part of their investigation, covering when the IRS started singling out Tea Party groups. But Taylor downplayed their importance.
The Treasury inspector general who outlined the IRS’s scrutiny of Tea Party groups has said that Lerner’s hard drive crashed before she knew how agency officials were treating conservative organizations.