Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Sunday that he believes former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner broke the law in singling out certain conservative organizations for extra scrutiny between 2010 and 2012, and that her attorney has lied about her role to protect her.
The IRS announced earlier this month that it lost many of Lerner's emails prior to 2011 in a computer crash.
"I don't think anyone on my committee has ever said she deliberately crashed her computer," Issa said. But, he added, he doubted Lerner had failed to keep hard copies of those emails.
"It's pretty hard to believe that there aren't paper copies," Issa told CNN's Candy Crowley. "Do I believe that she printed the paper? Yes. She's an attorney of long standing and it's kind of hard to believe that you wouldn't cover with your own paper copies."
Lerner's attorney, William Taylor, has said that Lerner doesn't have those copies, a statement Issa dismissed.
"Her attorney has said a number of things that have been not correct, or disingenuous, or outright lies a number of times, and it's been shown by emails," Issa said, without citing specific examples.
Taylor said Issa was wrong to call him a liar, and disputed the idea that the loss of emails was "convenient."
"You can see why it's convenient to say there's a computer crash and therefore there must be something nefarious going on," he said. "This is election year politics. It's convenient to have a demon they can create and point to."
Although some Republicans have attempted to tie President Barack Obama's administration to the IRS scandal, and although Issa's committee subpoenaed a White House lawyer last week, Issa insisted that "we've never looked for the White House, other than the White House is not cooperating and continues to not cooperate."
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