Scandal: One of the seven people, including Lois Lerner who lost emails from the period of Tea Party targeting by the IRS, served as chief of staff to former IRS head Steven Miller. She also made 35 visits to the White House.
The funny thing about emails is that they are never orphans. When you send one, there's always a recipient who has his or her own copy. The "lost" Lois Lerner emails had recipients. How about subpoenas to all of them during the Tea Party targeting period? That should help find what we need to know — or maybe not.
It seems six more IRS officials have lost critical emails from that period, a seeming statistical impossibility that shouts out a conspiracy to obstruct justice, and more violations of the Federal Records Act, which requires paper copies of these emails to be printed and stored just in case of computer problems.
One of those officials who received Lerner emails and also lost them was Nikole Flax, chief of staff to former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal, visited the White House more than most Cabinet members.
Flax, as the Daily Caller reports, "made 31 visits to the White House between July 12, 2010, and May 8, 2013, according to White House visitor logs."
While not quite as numerous as another former IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, who made some 118 visits — including one he testified was for the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn — Flax's visits dovetail nicely with key points in the IRS scandal.
The visits started just as the IRS' targeting of the Tea Party began; the last occurred two days before the scandal broke in May 2013. On the day of her last visit, according to the Daily Caller, Flax got an email from Lerner seeking advice on a plan to coordinate with the Justice Department to criminally prosecute conservative activists.
Responding to this email, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch, Flax gave the green light to Lerner's plan to coordinate criminal prosecutions with DOJ, a suggestion that had been made by Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
We also know that Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings' staff was in contact with Lerner about the conservative group True the Vote.
Whitehouse and Cummings might be two of the "Democratic offices" referred to in a statement from the House Ways and Means Committee when it derided IRS' claims that "it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices."
Committee Chairman Dave Camp and member Charles Boustany said in a statement:
"The fact that Ms. Flax was a frequent visitor to the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building only raises more questions. Who was she visiting at the White House and what were they talking about? Was she updating the White House on the targeting or was she getting orders?"
The loss of emails belonging to Flax, who coordinated possible criminal prosecution of Tea Party groups, is just too convenient. We might have only scratched the surface of direct White House involvement in a criminal conspiracy. Could the answer be found in the emails that Flax and six others, including Lerner, "lost"?
Or maybe, just maybe, they were deliberately destroyed, as was Lerner's hard drive? That would be a criminal conspiracy that would make Watergate indeed look like a third-rate burglary.