Sunday, May 19, 2013

IRS manager in problem office got bonuses, now leads Obamacare unit

Sarah Hall Ingram was the IRS official in charge of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt Division from 2009 through 2012. Her division has recently made headlines as part of the IRS that singled conservative groups who were seeking tax exemptions.

One might expect that Sarah Hall Ingram would have been dismissed from the IRS after President Obama announced his displeasure over the IRS scandal. Obama requested the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller after the scandal broke.

In reality, the IRS confirmed Friday to ABC News that Ingram, rather than being fired or demoted, now heads up the IRS Affordable Care Office. The Affordable Care Act dramatically expands the size and power of the IRS by putting the IRS in charge of enforcing the individual and employer mandates. The IRS also controls and regulates the Affordable Care Act’s federal subsidies for health insurance.

Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the Republican candidate for vice president in 2012, called the IRS connection to Obamacare “rotten to the core.” Speaking today on Fox News Sunday, he said, “The IRS is now going to be granted huge amounts of unprecedented power over our health care in the implementation of Obamacare. And so this is just rotten to the core. This is arrogance. This is big government cronyism. And this is not what hard-working taxpayers deserve.”

Other conservatives wondered whether the IRS might limit the availability of health care, health insurance or federal subsidies in cases where patients were critical of the Obama Administration or the federal government. In answer, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) has introduced the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013. The law would prohibit the IRS from implementing or enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s provisions.

Acting Commissioner Miller’s firing has also been greatly exaggerated. ABC News also reported that Miller’s 210 day term would have expired on June 8. In the meantime, Miller is still on the job. No final date for his departure has been announced. A copy of his resignation letter to IRS employees in the Washington Post referred to Miller’s focus “on an orderly transition,” which seems to imply that his departure will not be immediate.

The brunt of the blame seems to be falling on Joseph Grant, who became deputy commissioner of the tax exempt division in 2007, serving under Ms. Ingram. Grant was promoted to Ms. Ingram’s old position only two days before the IRS announcement that sparked the scandal. USA Today reports that Grant will retire on June 3.

The Washington Examiner also reported this week that Sarah Hall Ingram received more than $100,000 in bonuses during her tenure as the head of the tax exempt office. During the years from 2010 through 2012 when IRS persecution of conservative groups was at its highest levels, Ingram received between $26,000 and $35,000 in annual bonus money. Ingram also received a bonus of $47,900 in 2004. During the four years in question, the average bonus paid to IRS employees was $5,500.

The Examiner points out that Office of Personnel Management guidelines state, “If the recommended award is over $25,000, the Director of OPM reviews the nomination and forwards his/her recommendation to the President for approval.” The guidelines also note that managers should ensure that “the proposed award recipient has not been involved in any action or activity that could cause the President embarrassment.…”

Originally posted on Examiner:

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