WASHINGTON – A congressional hearing Thursday morning is expected to reveal evidence was destroyed during the investigation into the IRS targeting scandal, months after the agency was told to preserve documents, Fox News is told.
J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, is expected to tell the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee his office found no direct evidence the destruction was intentional.
But the destruction nevertheless defied a preservation order, and is sure to raise suspicions over motive.
The IG will specifically reveal that IRS employees erased computer backup tapes a month after officials discovered thousands of emails related to the tax agency's Tea Party scandal had been lost.
As many as 24,000 emails were lost because 422 backup tapes were erased.
George says those tapes "most likely" contained emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central figure in congressional investigations.
A source familiar with the matter told Fox News that the hearing will show the evidence was destroyed 10 months after a preservation order for the emails; seven months after a subpoena; and one month after IRS officials realized there were potential problems locating certain emails.
Fox News is told the destruction of evidence also occurred about three weeks before IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified to Congress that they would provide documents to Congress.
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