WASHINGTON — A Justice Department investigation into the Internal Revenue Service has expanded to include an inquiry into the disappearance of emails from a former senior IRS official.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole was to update Congress on Thursday about the department's investigation into whether the agency targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. He also was expected to tell members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that investigators now were looking into emails that went missing from the computer of Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that deals with tax-exempt organizations.
The IRS has said it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner's computer crashed.
Lerner, who refused to answer questions at two House committee hearings, has become a central figure in several congressional investigations into the handling of applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups. At both hearings, Lerner cited her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. In May, the Republican-led House voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify.
Lerner's attorney, William Taylor III, declined to comment Wednesday.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.