Pronk Pops Show 109, May 17, 2013, Segment 4: Sarah Hall Ingram Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE) Targeted Tea Party — Now In Charge of IRS Health Care Office — Mission Accomplished Got $100,000 bonuses between 2009 and 2012 — Got Obama Elected President! — Videos
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Segment 4: Sarah Hall Ingram Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE) Targeted Tea Party — Now In Charge of IRS Health Care Office — Mission Accomplished Got $100,000 bonuses between 2009 and 2012 — Got Obama Elected President! — Videos
NAACP’s Leader Calls The Tea Party The Taliban Wing Of American Politics
Rand Paul Discusses IRS Scandal & Enemies List on Hannity – 5/13/13
The I.R.S. Takes Aim at the Tea Party (David Keating)
The I.R.S. Abusing Americans Is Nothing New
The I.R.S. targeting of tea party groups in the United States is par for the course. It’s not the first time the agency has been used for partisan political ends. Whether or not the targeting was undertaken as a directive from the White House, the agency’s broad latitude in determining what constitutes partisan political activity is very problematic. The solutions offered by campaign finance reformers would unfortunately only give the agency more power.
Scarborough, Willie Geist Tear Into Obama Admin Over IRS Scandal ‘This Is Tyranny…’
Jon Stewart Destroys Obama Over IRS Scandal & Lack Of ‘Managerial Competence’
IRS chief: Disclosure of targeting was intentional
Lois Lerner, IRS Official: I’m Not Good At Math
IRS Scandal: Lois Lerner In her own words
Who knew what and when at the IRS?
Obama’s Enemies List 2.0
PAUL RYAN Destroys IRS Commissioner Steven Miller at House Hearing
IRS Official in Charge During Tea Party Targeting Now Runs Health Care Office
By John Parkinson and Steven Portnoy
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.
Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.
Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.
Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.
As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.
“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”
Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.
“Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care,” Cornyn, R-Texas, stated. “I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also reacted to the revelation late Thursday, stating the news was “stunning, just stunning.”
ABC News’ Abby D. Phillip contributed to this report.
Who Is Sarah Hall Ingram?
June, 2009 –Sarah Hall Ingram, the new commissioner of the IRS TE/GE (Tax-exempt and Government Entities) division of the IRS, spoke on June 23 at Georgetown’s Continuing Legal Education program about the IRS role in nonprofit governance. In the speech, Ingram identified four general principles that she believes are essential to good nonprofit governance:
A foundational principle is that the organization should clearly understand and publicly express its mission. This helps assure that the organization provides a public benefit and does not drift away from a charitable purpose. It helps an organization avoid practices that are inconsistent with tax-exempt status.
Equally important is the principle that the organization’s board should be engaged, informed and independent. The board should have real responsibility and authority. It must, for example, be able to implement, in the life of the organization, the rules against inurement and self-dealing.
Another set of key good governance principles are those relating to the proper use and safeguarding of assets. These principles are supported by policies and practices that address executive compensation, that protect against conflicts of interest, and that support independent financial reviews.
Transparency is another key principle. I believe that board decisions should be reflected in minutes, that records supporting decisions should be retained for reasonable periods, that whistleblowers should be protected, and that each year’s Form 990 should be complete, accurate and prepared in good faith.
Ingram insisted that the IRS would not create a “one size fits all” definition of governance, but strongly reaffirmed the IRS’s role in governance issues: “Another principle I will follow is that the IRS has a clear, unambiguous role to play in governance.” While I have some doubts about the extent to which the IRS should be active in governance matters, it is hard to argue with Ingram’s view that certain core exemption issues (executive pay, other private inurement, political activity, etc.) do involve governance processes. It will be interesting to see how the IRS’s role in governance evolves under Ingram’s leadership.
To read Commissioner Ingram’s full address go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/ingram__gtown__governance_062309.pdf
IRS Announces Appointment of Sarah Hall Ingram as Chief, Appeals
IR-2006-59, April 11, 2006
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced that Sarah Hall Ingram has been appointed to the position of Chief, Appeals. Ingram will replace David Robison, effective May 7.
As the head of the agency’s Appeals division, Ingram will be responsible for overseeing the operations of an administrative forum for taxpayers contesting an IRS compliance action. The Appeals mission is to resolve tax disputes without litigation; it provides an independent administrative appeal process for all taxpayers.
“I’m pleased Sarah Hall Ingram will be stepping into the position of Chief, Appeals,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “Her broad legal and technical experience will serve the IRS well as she assumes this important post.”
Since July 2004, Ingram has been serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE). Ingram began her career with the IRS in the former Tax Litigation Division in 1982. She became Employee Plans Litigation Counsel in 1987, providing litigation coordination nationwide for employee benefit cases. In 1992, Ingram became Deputy Associate Chief Counsel, Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations (EBEO), where she served until her 1994 appointment as Associate Chief Counsel, EBEO. As part of the IRS Modernization program, Ingram was appointed in 1999 to the new position of Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, TE/GE, where she was responsible for providing legal services to the TE/GE Division and its customers as well as other parts of the IRS.
Ingram received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1979 and her J.D. in 1982 from Georgetown University Law School. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.
Everson also expressed his thanks to Robison, who will retire May 6, after serving 35 years with the IRS.
“David’s service as the Chief, Appeals, for the past four years has been exemplary,” Everson said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Previously, Robison served in numerous positions involving corporate and international taxation. Last year Robison was selected by Everson to coordinate IRS support for President Bush’s Tax Reform Panel.
IRS targets conservative groups
By Dan Keating and Darla Cameron, Published: May 15, 2013
The IRS grants tax-exempt status to 40,000 nonprofit groups per year. When the IRS began targeting conservative groups’ applications in 2011, nonprofit approvals for groups with tea party or 9-12 in their name stopped entirely. Five groups with those names had been approved in 2009 and 2010, but zero were approved in 2011. After policy reconsideration in 2012, the backlog was broken and 27 groups were approved, mostly in the second half of the year.
The slowdown was evident with other conservative-sounding groups, as well. Thirty-seven groups with the words patriot or constitution had been approved in 2009 and 2010, but only 10 were approved in 2011. Once again, the backlog was relieved in 2012 with 29 approvals.
On the other hand, groups with the word progressive in their names suffered no similar slowdown pattern. The number of approvals increased each year from 17 in 2009 to 20 in 2012. Read related article.
Republicans Expand I.R.S. Inquiry, With Eye on White House
Congressional Republicans, not resting with the Internal Revenue Service scandal, are moving to broaden the matter to an array of tax malfeasances and “intimidation tactics” they hope will ensnare the White House.
Republican charges range from clearly questionable actions to seemingly specious allegations, and they grow by the day. On Friday, lawmakers sought to tie the I.R.S. matter to the carrying out of President Obama’s health care law, which will rely heavily on the agency. Whether they succeed holds significant ramifications for Mr. Obama, who will soon know if he is dealing with a late spring thunderstorm that may soon blow over or a consuming squall that will leave lasting damage.
Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, the usually mild-mannered chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, set the tone Friday at Congress’s first hearing on the targeting of conservative groups by the I.R.S., laying out details, from the alleged threatening of donors to conservative nonprofit groups to the leaking of confidential I.R.S. documents.
In that context, he said, the screening of Tea Party groups for special scrutiny was not the scandal itself but “just the latest example of a culture of cover-ups — and political intimidation — in this administration.”
“It seems like the truth is hidden from the American people just long enough to make it through an election,” Mr. Camp said.
Taken aback, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan, modified his prepared remarks to warn, “If this hearing becomes essentially a bootstrap to continue the campaign of 2012 and to prepare for 2014, we will be making a very, very serious mistake.”
Republicans raised a long list of issues. Mr. Camp contended, for instance, that a White House official’s divulging of a private company’s tax status constituted “a clear intimidation tactic.” The 2010 incident involved an offhand comment by the White House economist Austan Goolsbee that Koch Industries had not paid corporate income taxes because it pays taxes through the personal income tax code. As it turned out, that was not true, but the assertion was made in a discussion of tax reform ideas, not politics.
The Republicans also criticized the publication of donors to the National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage. That donors list surfaced mysteriously in March 2012 from a whistle-blower whose identity is still unknown. The whistle-blower apparently obtained it by simply requesting it from the I.R.S.
Linkage to the health care law came through Sarah Hall Ingram, a longtime I.R.S. official who has headed the agency’s program to carry out the Affordable Care Act since December 2010. Before that, she led the I.R.S.’s tax-exempt and government-entities division, which contained the political targeting effort.
“This is an audit, and it’s helpful,” Representative Tim Griffin, Republican of Arkansas, said of the investigation of I.R.S. targeting by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, “but it’s the tip of the iceberg.”
But the inspector general made clear that effort did not reach the attention of high-level I.R.S. officials until 2011 at the earliest.
The inspector general gave Republicans some fodder Friday when he divulged that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel he was auditing the I.R.S.’s screening of politically active groups seeking tax exemptions on June 4, 2012. He told Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly after,” he said. That meant Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
The disclosure last summer came as part of a routine briefing of the investigations that the inspector general would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said.
Treasury officials stressed they did not know the results until March 2013, when the inspector presented a draft.
“Treasury strongly supports the independent oversight of its three inspectors general, and it does not interfere in ongoing I.G. audits,” the department said in a statement Friday evening.
Still, Inspector General J. Russell George’s testimony fueled efforts by Congressional Republicans to ensnare Mr. Obama in the scandals suddenly swirling over the White House. Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who joined the national ticket as the vice-presidential nominee last year, said of the revelation, “That raises a big question.”
Republicans hit hard on the divulging of confidential tax information, hinting of intimidation not only by the I.R.S. but also by the White House.
In March 2012, the Human Rights Campaign and The Huffington Post made public confidential tax documents from the National Organization for Marriage. The Human Rights Campaign said it obtained the documents from a “whistle-blower” who mailed them to the gay rights group’s Washington headquarters.
In a similar incident, ProPublica, an investigative journalism Web site, asked the I.R.S.’s Cincinnati office for the applications of 67 nonprofits, both liberal and conservative. When the I.R.S. responded, it inadvertently included applications for nine conservative groups that had not yet been granted tax-exempt status, a violation of confidentiality law.
When ProPublica realized what it had — including the application from Crossroads GPS, the conservative group founded by Karl Rove and other Republican strategists — it alerted the I.R.S., which warned the journalists that “publishing unauthorized returns or return information was a felony” punishable by up to five years in prison. ProPublica ProPublica redacted certain details and published the documents anyway.
Representative Peter Roskam, Republican of Illinois, hit on a different explanation. “On the one hand, you’re arguing today that the I.R.S. is not corrupt, but the subtext of that is you’re saying, ‘Look, we’re just incompetent,’ ” Mr. Roskam said. “It is a perilous pathway to go down.”
One release that turned out to be advertent was last Friday’s disclosure of the agency’s conservative targeting. Steven Miller, the ousted acting commissioner of the I.R.S., confessed that the agency’s apology was prompted by a question planted by the agency at an American Bar Association meeting. At that meeting, Lois Lerner, the head of the I.R.S.’s division overseeing tax-exempt organizations, was asked about an inquiry into the targeting issue, eliciting an apology that quickly leaked out of the closed-door session. The I.R.S. then scrambled to issue a formal release on the issue.
Mr. Miller divulged that the exchange was not an impromptu apology but a planned exchange between Ms. Lerner and Celia Roady, a tax lawyer at the Washington office of the Morgan Lewis law firm. That revelation only underscored the ham-handed way the scandal has burst into view.
Under fire, Mr. Miller called the agency’s targeting of conservative groups “obnoxious,” but he told the House Ways and Means Committee it was not motivated by partisanship. And in testy exchanges, he said he had not misled Congress, even though he did not divulge the targeting efforts of a Cincinnati unit examining 70,000 applications for tax exemption.
He called the group’s centralization of applications from groups with names that included the words “Tea Party” or “patriots” simply “foolish mistakes” that “were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection.”
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