WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans investigating Internal Revenue Service handling of applications for tax-exempt status asked an IRS official turn over personal emails.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Tuesday in a letter to IRS official Lois Lerner the committee wanted to know whether she used personal email accounts to conduct official business as head of the IRS Exempt Organizations unit, The Hill reported.
Issa said evidence Lerner sent official documents to her personal email address "raises concerns" about whether investigators can get a complete picture of her role in the targeting of political groups -- including Tea Party groups as well as some liberal organizations -- who had applied for tax-exempt status.
Although the letter contains no evidence Lerner used personal email in the heightened scrutiny of political groups, Issa suggested Lerner may have avoided automatic archiving of official emails, and asked her for personal emails relating to the matter dating back to 2008, the report said.
A committee spokesman said it was possible Issa would subpoena the documents if Lerner does not comply with his request, The Hill said.
Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during an appearance before the committee this spring and has been on administrative leave since May.
The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said Tuesday the committee's investigation has not produced "a scintilla of evidence" to support Republicans' claims the White House has used the IRS to target President Barack Obama's political enemies.
"Let us be clear: There was mismanagement at the IRS, and IRS employees screened applications for tax-exempt status for further review based, in part, on the names of the organizations," Cummings said in a Washington Post op-ed, co-written with Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.
"But there is absolutely no evidence of political motivation or White House involvement."