As President Obama chose a new acting director of the Internal Revenue Service, a top agency official with links to IRS targeting of more conservative political groups suddenly decided to retire, as Republicans in Congress accused the IRS of carrying out a political vendetta against Tea Party groups.
“Somebody made a decision to do this,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “And I doubt it was some low level employees in the Cincinnati office.”
The doubts of GOP lawmakers grew even more as it was revealed that the woman in charge of the unit that reviewed tax exempt questions – Sarah Ingram – was recently put in charge of IRS implementation of the Obama health reform law.
“Unacceptable,” said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
One source inside the IRS told me that Ingram should have been more than familiar with the targeting of Republican-leaning groups, as the person in charge of the tax exempt section.
“She knew what was going on,” the source said.
The Washington Examiner reported that Ingram received over $100,000 in government bonuses between 2009 and 2012.
Meanwhile, Ingram’s replacement, Joseph Grant, suddenly announced his retirement, just one week after being publicly named to the post.
Grant had served for several years as Ingram’s deputy, in charge of the unit that reviewed tax exempt applications from Tea Party groups. No reason was given for his decision, which raised more questions.
Some of the groups who had been stiff-armed by the IRS came to Capitol Hill on Thursday to personally make the case that they had been mistreated, as they told stories of mysterious delays, excessive requests for information and more.
“They wanted things like our donor lists, our private emails for the last three years,” said Todd Cefaratti, with the group Tea Party dot net.
“This is an out of control government,” said Tom Zawistowski of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, who held up for reporters the letter he wrote the IRS in reply to their broad request for information.
“We will not comply,” Zawistowski said. “We know what’s right and wrong.”