[Ed – Somebody’s got to catch that marauding, homework-eating dog. It sure is a preternaturally selective critter.]
The newest case of IRS hard drive trouble happened last April, but came to light only this month. Law 360, a subscription-based trade publication, reported this week that the IRS has notified the Justice Department that it erased a hard drive after being ordered not to do so by a federal judge.
In this case, the missing communications are those of a former IRS official named Samuel Maruca in the Large Business and International division. He is believed to have been among the senior IRS employees who made the unusual and possibly illegal decision in May 2014 to hire the outside law firm Quinn Emanuel to help conduct an audit of Microsoft Corporation.
As the House Ways and Means Committee noted last spring, the hiring of the firm was probably a violation of the statute protecting confidential taxpayer information.
“Hiring Quinn Emanuel may violate Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code,” the committee report states, “which prohibits the sharing of confidential taxpayer return information. When the IRS hired Quinn Emanuel, it issued a temporary regulation to allow the law firm to see taxpayer return information and to take compelled testimony — in other words, interrogate Microsoft employees.”