2014-07-09T231855Z_1_LYNXMPEA6812G_RTROPTP_2_USA-IRS-LERNER

Former IRS official sought to hide information, lawmakers assert

Lerner prepares to deliver an opening statement to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in WashingtonBy Mark Felsenthal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans asserted on Wednesday that new emails show a former Internal Revenue Service official deliberately sought to hide information from Congress, opening a new chapter in a probe of IRS treatment of conservative groups. An email exchange released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa shows the former official, Lois Lerner, asking a colleague whether communications made through an internal messaging system can be searched by Congress. Issa said the exchange, culled from documents provided to Congress last week, showed that Lerner was “leading an effort to hide information from congressional inquiries.” The latest accusation prompted heated questioning of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing and angry exchanges among a Democrat and Republicans on the panel. In the emails, Lerner says she has been telling colleagues to be cautious about what they say in emails and asks whether internal messages are subject to the same data transparency rules.

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