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An IRS watchdog investigating missing emails at the agency says it is looking at the possibility of criminal activity.  The IRS inspector general told the House Oversight Committee that his investigation into emails thought to be lost has turned up more than 30,000 messages on backup tapes.  However, investigators are still trying to determine how many of those may actually be new messages.  During his testimony Thursday, the official added that the IRS had apparently never requested the tapes, despite a subpoena from Congress. 

Congress had requested the emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner at a hearing last June.  Lerner was the official at the center of allegations that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups applying for non-profit status. 

The agency told Congress that many of those emails were lost when Lerner's computer crashed.  The inspector general told the House panel that there is "potential criminal activity" in the disappearance of the emails. 

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