Justice Department officials pushed IRS employees to hand over documents before they gave the records to Congress in 2013 as investigators were attempting to dig into the tax agency's targeting of conservative nonprofits.

The Justice Department knew "that some [IRS] employees have assembled their own set" of documents for the congressional probe in preparation for their scheduled testimonies and told IRS officials it would be "helpful to obtain them" from the witnesses, according to emails published Tuesday by Judicial Watch.

"[W]e would like the unredacted documents," an unnamed Justice Department official added in the July 16, 2013 email.

The new records, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act, suggests the Justice Department played a larger role in the IRS targeting scandal than previously known.

"These new documents show that the Obama IRS scandal is also an Obama DOJ and FBI scandal," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.

The records included a memo that described an October 8, 2010 meeting in which Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS tax-exempt unit, sought ways to press criminal charges against nonprofit groups that engaged in "political activity."

Lerner, other top IRS officials and several representatives from the Justice Department discussed the possibility of using Federal Election Commission laws to open criminal cases for groups that "are actually political committees 'posing' as if they are not subject to FEC law," the memo said.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen sent June 9, 2014, Rep. Darrell Issa, then-chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was "extremely troubled" to learn that Lerner had met with Justice officials about "potentially using campaign-finance laws to criminally prosecute certain nonprofit groups engaged in political speech."

Issa slammed the IRS for sharing more than a million pages of confidential taxpayer information with the Justice Department ahead of the 2010 midterm election in violation of laws meant to protect such data.

The Oversight Committee only learned about the transfer, which involved 21 disks of information, after lawmakers subpoenaed then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Issa noted.

A newly-published email sent Oct. 5, 2010 by an IRS official suggests the tax agency gave Justice Department staff as many as 1.25 million pages of documents in an effort to pursue criminal charges against certain nonprofits.

"The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama's opponents in jail before his reelection," Fitton said of the records.

"This abuse resulted in the FBI's illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information," he added. "How can the Justice Department and FBI investigate the very scandal in which they are implicated?"

The new documents come amid the Oversight Committee's protracted effort to recover thousands of emails sent to and from Lerner during the peak of the targeting scandal.

Last month, the tax agency's inspector general testified that IRS employees had "magnetically erased" hundreds of the backup tapes that housed requested emails.

While inspector general officials were careful not to suggest any IRS staff "willfully" scrubbed the emails, Republicans on the committee blasted the agency for ignoring a directive to preserve relevant records.

Congress launched a probe into the IRS in 2013 after the inspector general released a report suggesting agency officials had subjected conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status to additional scrutiny.