Another crashed hard drive helps federal employee escape criminal charges

Malfunctioning hard drives have become a recurring problem for federal officials, and the latest may have helped one former Federal Election Commission employee escape criminal charges.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. is asking for details about a crashed hard drive used by April Sands, who recently resigned from the FEC, according to TheBlaze.  Before quitting, Sands admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which restricts government officials from engaging in political activities while on the job.

FEC officials recently told Congress that they could not recover Sand’s hard drive, which Issa said would make it impossible to pursue criminal charges against her, even though she admitted breaking the law, according to TheBlaze.

“Recent information obtained by the committee suggests that the FEC OIG could not pursue criminal prosecution for the misconduct because the attorney’s hard drive had been recycled by the FEC,” Issa  wrote in a letter Monday  to FEC Chairman Lee Goodman.

Issa has given the FEC until July 28 to provide an explanation for how the hard drive crashed, as well as documentation detailing the FEC’s practices for retaining computerized information.

TheBlaze said Sands wrote emails saying she hoped President Obama would win re-election in 2012, and she  tweeted similar sentiments, including this one from before the 2012 election:

“Our #POTUS’s birthday is August 4. He’ll be 51. I’m donating at least $51 to give him the best birthday present ever: a second term.”

In another tweet, Sands even called Republican supporters her “enemy,” according to TheBlaze.

“The bias exhibited in these messages is striking, especially for an attorney charged with the responsibility to enforce federal election laws fairly and dispassionately,” Issa wrote in his letter to the FEC.

Sands’ malfunctioning computer is the latest in a long list of technical glitches that have raised eyebrows for federal officials. The Internal Revenue Service said it lost two years of emails from Lois Lerner, a former IRS official accused of singling out Republicans for federal scrutiny. Then the Environmental Protection Agency said it “lost” Administrator Gina McCarthy’s emails about a controversial decision to block a proposed  mining operation in Alaska.


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