Rep. Darrell Issa speaks to reporters in Washington. Photo courtesy Issa’s office

Rep. Darrell Issa on Sunday sent IRS Commissioner John Koskinen a series a questions in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee‘s continuing investigation of alleged targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The committee, which Issa chairs, has focused on the loss of email messages written by former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner from January 2009 to April 2011. Last week the committee learned that the IRS had destroyed a failed hard drive containing the messages.

“Because the IRS has refused to provide basic information about these matters to the Committee in advance of the hearing, and in the interest of promoting a frank and thorough discussion at the hearing, I ask that you provide answers,” the Republican from Vista wrote.

He listed 15 specific questions ranging from when and how the drive failed to how the IRS email system is set up and what the agency’s document retention policies and procedures require.

Koskinen is scheduled to testify at 4 p.m. Pacific time on Monday.

Issa has strongly criticized the IRS’ actions in the investigation, accusing the agency of “obstruction and game-playing.

“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination , this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception,” Issa said. “Old and useless binders of information are still stored and maintained on federal agency shelves; official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.”

Issa represents coastal San Diego from Del Mar north, plus Vista and San Marcos, as well as large parts of South Orange County.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.