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Sarah Hall Ingram may have shared confidential IRS information about conservative groups with White House staff
Howard Richman, 10/9/2013

On June 19, I noted on this blog that frequent White House visitor Sarah Hall Ingram was knee deep in the IRS scandal, which probably meant that White House staff were involved. My suspicions were supported by an e-mail that was revealed by Rep. Darrell Issa while questioning Ms. Ingram at the October 9 hearing of his House Oversight Committee. Watch the above video to see Rep. Issa's discussion with Ms. Ingram.

According to The Daily Caller, this email shows that Sara Hall Ingram shared confidential taxpayer information with White House staff:

Top Internal Revenue Service Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division, also received an email alongside White House officials that contained confidential information.

Issa, in his questioning of Ingram, suggested that there is an alternative explanation of the e-mail. The alternative is that the IRS was abusing the redaction process in order to hide information from Issa's committee.

Issa's committee will be questioning IRS officials in order to discover what lies hidden in the redacted parts of the e-mail. If it turns out that Ingram was revealing confidential taxpayer information, then Hall was clearly violating that information by sharing it with the White House.

For some background, here's what I wrote back in June (Sarah Hall Ingram is being written out of the IRS scandal):

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.

I continued with the following hypothesis:

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.

Now we know that Ingram may have shared confidential IRS information about conservative groups with White House staff. We also know from the "cc" of the e-mail that she kept Lerner in the loop. This email suggests that Ingram may have discussed confidential IRS information about conservative groups with both her direct subordinate Lerner and also with White House Staff. 

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