A federal judge on Thursday declined to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the Internal Revenue Service from destroying e-mails or other potential evidence.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton is a blow to True the Vote, the Texas-based organization that’s suing the IRS over its handling of a tax-exempt status application. After filing the suit, conservatives and lawmakers learned that e-mails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner had gone missing.
In asking for the injunction, True the Vote said it didn’t trust the IRS to refrain from destroying other evidence.
On the other hand, Walton noted, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has initiated a forensic investigation and recovery effort.
“The issuance of an injunction will not further aid in the recovery of the emails, if such recovery is possible, but will rather only duplicate and potentially interfere with ongoing investigative activities,” Walton concluded.
But while denying True the Vote’s request for an injunction, Walton still laid down the law Thursday.
“As a result of the filing of this case,” Walton wrote, “the defendants are now on notice of their obligation to preserve any potentially relevant evidence, and the Court instructs the defendants to comply with that obligation.”