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Sarah Hall Ingram is being written out of the IRS scandal
Howard Richman, 6/19/2013

Sarah Hall Ingram is being written out of the IRS scandal. Take, for example, this selection from an article in today's Insurance Journal which states:

Some Republicans are also highlighting the fact that Sarah Hall Ingram, who heads the IRS health care office, oversaw the tax-exempt division when agents first started improperly targeting conservative groups. The IRS said Ingram was re-assigned to help the agency implement the health care law in December 2010, about six months before her subordinate learned about the targeting.

The height of the scandal was January 2012 when, for the second time, a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) list was instituted which specifically targeted groups whose names included words such as "Tea Party." And Ingram was Commissioner of the relevant IRS division at that very time:

  • On November 15, 2011, she testified before the House Ways and Means Committee about ObamaCare, writing: "I am Commissioner of the Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Operating Division at the Internal Revenue Service. I also serve as the executive lead on the IRS’s operational planning and implementation of the small employer tax credit and other tax law provisions of the Affordable Care Act."

  • On May 15, 2012, she testified before the Senate Finance Committee about what tax reform could mean to Indian tribes. This had nothing to do with ObamaCare. She was testifying in her role as the Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Operating Division at the Internal Revenue Service.

Ingram and those above and below her in the IRS hierarchy were excoriated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in the May 14, 2013, report (Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review) which stated:

  • [T]he Determinations Unit developed and implemented inappropriate criteria in part due to insufficient oversight provided by management. (p. 7)

  • Potential political cases took significantly longer than average to process due to ineffective management oversight. (p. 12)

In other words, the management team that she was part of permitted the targeting of groups which had words such as "Tea Party", "Patriot" or "9/12" in their names and permitted unreasonable delays in the processing of these groups' applications. Ingram's boss (Steven Miller) and her boss's boss (Doug Shulman) have both been forced to retire.

And there may have been more than incompetence involved. Ingram's immediate underling in the IRS hierarchy, Lois Lerner, pleaded the Fifth Amendment rather than give testimony that might incriminate herself.

We do not know whether Ingram discussed the targeting of conservative groups during her frequent meetings at the White House, nor do we know whether Ingram discussed the targeting of conservative groups with Lerner. If White House staff wanted the IRS to target Tea Party groups in order to neutralize them in the run-up to the 2012 election, Ingram could possibly have been their conduit.

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