Newspaper: Lost emails 'eye-rollingly convenient'

President Obama’s administration should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said Sunday.

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The IRS said this month that former agency official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011, leaving them unable to recover an untold number of her emails from a two-year period.

That loss of emails, the Star Tribune said, was “eye-rollingly convenient,” and showed that Attorney General Eric Holder should appoint a special prosecutor.

“The IRS expects Americans to hold onto receipts and other documents for years,” the paper’s editorial said, echoing an argument from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

“The agency’s lackadaisical data management suggests a higher bar for the public than agency officials. That the IRS dallied in telling Congress about the lost e-mails raises further questions about what happened.”

Congressional investigations into the IRS have intensified in the two weeks since the IRS told lawmakers about Lerner’s missing emails. Lerner, the former chief of an IRS division overseeing tax-exempt groups, is the central figure in the controversy.

Republicans have increasingly called for a special prosecutor in recent months. Top lawmakers in the party were skeptical of a special counsel was needed shortly after the controversy broke in May 2013, in no small part because Holder is charged with appointing the prosecutor.

More conservative newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News have also called for a special prosecutor in recent days. The Star Tribune’s new owner said this year that the paper would become less liberal.

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