Health care official used to lead IRS tax exempt office
May 16th, 2013
09:49 PM ET
11 months ago

Health care official used to lead IRS tax exempt office

(CNN) – Republicans using the Internal Revenue Service scandal to slam health care reform have a new twist in their argument.

Sarah Hall Ingram, who heads the implementation of the Affordable Care Act at the IRS, formerly led the agency's tax exempt/government entities division, the same division that's now taking heat for targeting conservative groups in the past few years.

An IRS spokesperson confirmed Ingram is the current director of the Affordable Care Act office, a department she’s worked in since December 2010. Meanwhile, a 2009 posting on the IRS website referred to her as the commissioner for the tax exempt/government entities division.

The IRS admitted last week it began over-scrutinizing conservative groups in 2010.

Joseph Grant, her successor, began acting as division commissioner in December 2010, the IRS spokesperson said, and earlier this month he was officially named commissioner.

Earlier Thursday, he became the second IRS official this week to announce his resignation. Grant plans to retire June 3, according to an internal memo for IRS employees that was obtained by CNN.

Before directing the tax exempt division in 2009, Ingram served as chief of appeals at the IRS for three years and as counsel/associate chief counsel for the tax exempt division. She started at the agency in 1982.

The Republican-led House of Representatives passed a measure to repeal Obamacare entirely on Thursday for the third time.

But the latest scandal involving the IRS, one of the key agencies charged with enforcing the health care law, is adding fuel to the political fire over the controversial law.

And Congressional Republicans are already citing the new development about Ingram as another reason why health care needs to be rolled back.

Thursday's vote was the 37th time the House has attempted to eliminate all or parts of the law.

“Stunning, just stunning," was all Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say about the revelation Ingram previously led the tax exempt division.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced a bill to "prohibit" the Treasury Department from enforcing the Affordable Care Act. The legislation, which has little chance of passing in the Democratic-led Senate, is titled "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013."

The recent IRS scandal "raises pertinent questions about the agency's ability to implement and oversee" the health care law, according to the legislation.

– CNN’s Jessica Yellin, Deirdre Walsh, Dana Bash, Candy Crowley and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • IRS
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. paraduxx

    the tax exempt status of these PAC's is total BS to begin with. and of course the repubs will try to capitalize on it for their own political gain. shocker..

    May 17, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. nothing new here

    My question is this – WHY do we allow all these so-called organizations to gain tax-exempt status?
    Why is it that the average working person pays taxes, yet so many non-profs and churches do not? Do these groups not use our streets and highways? Do they not use 911 and emergency services?
    I am NOT suggesting that we do away with helping those in need. All I am saying is that people need to pull their own weight, everybody should pay something. At least think about keeping our infrastructure strong in this country.

    May 17, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. caesarbc

    The Republicans are engaging in witch hunts and conspiracies just like the McCarthy era. In this case, Republicans will say the IRS conducted nefarious tactics against harmless groups. I say the IRS did their job in overseeing groups of people (half the nation) who are Republicans who want to evade paying taxes. Now, the burden of proof is on Republicans to prove that the IRS system did not work in this case.

    May 17, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. That Guy

    I'm astonished at the vague headline and partisan lede in this story. This is news, CNN, not partisan gossip. Why not treat it as such?

    May 17, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Polar Bear

    "Over-scrutinizing." Really? Blocking conservative groups and bolstering liberal groups. No wonder Obama won. Craftly little devil and his disciples, no? Illegally using the IRS to win a second term. Textbook Chicago politics. There's smart and then there's devious. America cannot survive with the devious at the helm.

    May 17, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. hikerstud

    As a law abiding tax paying private enterprise employee I am beginning to fear my government. They make laws like hate speech, they go after small government opponents, they claim American videos led to protests instead of blaming terrorist. They are in power. They make the rules. They take what they want. It is no longer of the people by the people for the people. It is we are in power and you shut up and give us your money and then tell us we are wonderful.

    May 17, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. THE TRUTH

    Typical gop mentality, if were not running it, must be a conspiracy. worthless gop, your worthless

    May 17, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. Name Craig

    The libs fear the truth, so of course "it's nothing, move on." Each day we discover more about this culture of cover-up obama has cultivated.

    May 17, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  9. Data Driven

    "Blocking conservative groups and bolstering liberal groups." - All "tea party" groups actually GOT their undeserved tax-exempt status in the end. Several liberal groups were DENIED that status.
    "Illegally using the IRS to win a second term." - How so?
    "Textbook Chicago politics." - What's that?

    May 17, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Peter

    For all of us- Democrat, Republican or other, the weapon used in our favor today is a weapon able to be used against us in the future. When anyone favors an abuse of power becausue it happens to fall in a positive way to what they wish, one must understand that each party will blow itself up at some point and pass on that power to those we have disagreement. Nixon admi9nsitration taught us that and this administration is proving this point. EVERYONE should be a bit chilled when the power to attack those it seeks to silence is not even restrained by the courts. Yeah, the 'if you don't have anything to hide ' mantra sounds great until you realize those with the power to go after you are the ones who get to decide what should or should not be hidden and whether or not they agree with what you do or do not hide. Anyone NOT seeking to get to the bottom of abusing the power granted upn us to grant upon others clearly have their heads in the sand and weakness us all as individual citizens and a country. Just my opinion.

    May 17, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  11. Leveraction

    Why does CNN leave out the part regarding her over $100,000 dollars in Bonuses on top of her $175,000 dollar a year salary while she was head of the IRS division kicking on any Conservative Groups, Jewish and Catholic organization, etc... The bonuses she got required by law to have PRESIDENT approval shows she got big money to go after these Groups for Obama. Come on CNN report all the facts to this story. It only will get dirtier.

    May 17, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  12. yoshipod

    @Polar Bear

    While there is no excuse for selecting scrutinization simply by the name of the group, and I think most agree that type of targeting has no place in the IRS, the actual harm was minimal and there was no way that this affected the election.

    Remember 501(c)4 groups, which all of these were applying for, are for social welfare, and not political action.

    Therefore, if you want to claim the IRS actions affected the election by preventing conservative groups from political action, then you just proved that they were trying to cheat the system.

    May 17, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. EdwardTr

    I am sick and tired of giving handouts to the religious groups. The religious organizations are the just bunch of government moochers. In Chicago it is not enough those freeloaders are exempt from property taxes but also get some of the city’s utilities like the water for free. I hope Chicago’s mayor Emanuel is successful in reversing the utility exemption. Enough is enough, government should not be subsidizing religion.

    May 17, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Malcolm Ex

    We need to impose term limits on ALL elected and appointed officials. A combined lifetime cap of 12 years of service in elected office and appointed office is a realistic threshold. No individual should be permitted to hold an elected or appointed office once they have accumulated 12 years of government service. This should include state and local positions.

    May 17, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. kite005

    Probably started off as legitimate scrutinization but went too far when the scrutinized covered their bases very well.

    May 17, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. Sheila

    can you imagine IF the U.S. completely done away with the I.R.S. ?? and Just went with a 5% Tax on everything ?

    This includes businesses / federal tax on all paychecks / income tax / property taxes / real estate tax / Inheritance tax / it doesn't matter if you are buying a pack of gum, or an automobile, it's 5% – across the board.

    This country would probably be better off, but don't hold your breath, on THAT !!!

    May 17, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  17. Katie

    Yet another 'scandal' blown way, way out of proportion. The IRS was doing its job. Was it showing bias by choosing only those PACs? Yes, but it still was doing its job. PACs are special interest union-style slush funds for people with specific political agendas and the obscene amounts of money they collect and spend to spread lies and innuendo ought to be abolished. They ALL should be taxed. If the IRS could shut a few down for not adhering to the rules, then others would either toe the line or dissolve. They had to start somewhere. If a GOP held the oval office, no doubt they'd be looking at all the Dem PACs suddenly popping up.

    May 17, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  18. MilitaryAF

    We need to out-source Congress. There are plenty of people that are willing to actually do the work for less money.

    May 17, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. Just Saying

    They are political entities, I don't want for my taxpayer's money to cover for their exemptions! What they don't pay we, the people, have to pay... pay your dues Tea partiers!

    May 17, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. Red State

    Obama is absolutely the worst President in the history of the US. He's beginning to unravel from keeping track of his lies.

    May 17, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Defendtheinnocent

    Targeting a group. Democrats demand that the IRS agents who targeted a group be charged with:
    1) felony – stalking Conservatives
    2) felony – harassing Conservatives
    3) felony – hate crime, targeting a group
    4) felony – abusing a federal position
    5) felony – abusing a position in the IRS
    6) misdameanor – disorderly conduct

    May 17, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. PAT F

    "The IRS admitted last week it began over-scrutinizing conservative groups in 2010."

    Over-scrutinizing??? Is that what using Federal agencies for attacks against political enemies is called now? Back when Nixon was president, they called it a White House Enemies List. Now it's just over-scrutinizing!

    Imagine the firestorm if the list of "forbidden names", instead of "tea party", had been "black", "civil rights", "diversity"!!! Eric Holder would be issuing criminal indictments! This reporting is right out of Nancy Pelosi's playbook – the problem isn't an enemies list, according to her. The problem is 501(c)(4) organizations and Citizens United!! HYPOCRITS!!

    May 17, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. liberal disease

    Sayonara Obama care we hardly know YA!

    May 17, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. Data Driven

    Fine, Peter, but don't you think we should determine if there were actual abuses committed, first? From where I sit, this scandal is looking less and less impressive every day and has devolved into a partisan pie-fight. It's not entirely clear that the Cincinnati people have broken any laws just yet, and I find it questionable that political PACs are receiving tax-exempt status in the first place. Perhaps, technically, policies were incorrectly executed by staff, but now I'm speculating like the everyone else here and the media. I do think it's pretty clear, though, that "tea party" groups are NOT "Social Welfare Organizations" as nominated in the law. They're political groups. Why are they not paying their taxes? Let's ask the bigger questions.

    May 17, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  25. THE TRUTH

    Why is the gop not interested int the truth, the more they scream, we want the truth, the more effort they put into lying about it, they want you to accept what they say as the truth, let me just say, fox news is not considered a real news outlet to the journalists who take their job seriously. all talking points are lies, if you have to lie to recruit voters, well, shame on you

    May 17, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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