by Ethan Barton • Daily Caller
A government accountability group is suing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Commissioner John Koskinen for allegedly violating federal law by regularly deleting official records as part of an agreement with its government employee union.
The IRS has an agreement with the National Treasury Employees Union that prohibits the agency from saving any instant message records of its employees, documents obtained by Cause of Action Institute – the group suing the IRS – show.
Federal laws, however, require the agency to preserve such records. The federal tax agency has been the focus of a continuing scandal.
“The IRS and Commissioner Koskinen have a legal obligation to preserve official work communications between employees,” Cause of Action Institute President and CEO Alfred J. Lechner Jr. said in a statement. “It appears that federal records are being deleted because the IRS, in a deal with its employee union, refuses to preserve certain types of electronic communications.”
“This lawsuit seeks to ensure that IRS follows the law,” Lechner continued. “No agreement with a union or any other party can supersede Americans’ right to know how the IRS makes decisions.”
Cause of Action Institute’s lawsuit is intended to force the IRS “to comply with its obligations under the Federal Records Act … to capture and preserve all relevant records,” the group’s statement said. Those records include both employee instant messages and text messages.
Cause of Action Institute learned of the IRS’s union agreement not to preserve instant messages from a June 30, 2015, report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. A November 2014 Freedom of Information act request revealed that the IRS routinely deletes employee text messages after 14 days.
The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday titled “Examining the Allegations of Misconduct Against IRS Commissioner.” The hearing could be the first step in a process that results in Koskinen being impeached by the House.