The Internal Revenue Service claims to have lost two years’ worth of email messages between Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations unit who is facing contempt of Congress charges, and correspondents outside the agency.

Lerner has been under investigation since she revealed last year that the IRS Exempt Organizations unit had been using terms such as “Tea Party” and “Patriot” to screen applications from organizations applying for tax-exempt status. She asserted her Fifth Amendment rights in a pair of congressional hearings but gave a statement defending herself during the first hearing, and Republican lawmakers have filed contempt charges against her (see House Committee Refers Ex-IRS Official Lois Lerner to DOJ for Prosecution and House Holds Lerner in Contempt as IRS Probe Nears One-Year Mark).

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