Health care official used to lead IRS tax exempt office
May 16th, 2013
09:49 PM ET
2 years 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. PAT F

    @Katie: So you admit, do you, that if the GOP were targeting democratic groups, it would be wrong? So your whole argument is that it is OK for the government to suppress freedom of speech, as long as the speech being suppressed is speech you personally disagree with. Don't let the ACLU hear you say that, they'll take your card away.

    May 17, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. PAT F

    @Data Driven: Nice try. But you notice it was only conservative organizations that were targeted. Or are you so naive as to think that liberal organizations did not form the same groups? Bottom line: IRS was enforcing a White House enemies list to help Obama win reelection.

    May 17, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. rob

    Thankfully we have Republicans in charge of the house where legitimate oversight can happen. The best oversight is done by the opposing party. Is it partisan- OF COURSE, but it needs to be done and it needs to be done with subpoenas and the threat of purjury. Thats the only way we will learn the truth.

    May 17, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ Red State

    More was accomplished by President Obama in two years that that accomplished by any two-term President in U.S. history despite inheriting more turmoil than any President in U.S. history and despite having to deal with a divided and racist congress who said they wanted him and the country to fail. That makes President Obama the greatest President in U.S. history. Just google "Turmoil of the Bush Presidency," perhaps it would shed some light on the hoistoric and unprecedented atrocities and treason GWB and his administration committed.

    May 17, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. FLIndependent

    This whole IRS "scandal" manufactured by the Repubs/Tea Partiers is to try, once again, to dismantle Obamacare. The other day I heard Newt Gingrich say that the IRS will be administering Obamacare so the people need to be very wary. This is what is is all about. It is faux outrage because any group that is applying for tax exempt status should be scrutinized especially is they don't believe in paying taxes!! This is just another distraction in a long line to come I'm afraid so nothing gets done in the President's 2nd term – SHAMEFUL!

    May 17, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. THE TRUTH

    Billions, tax free, and then complain about the losers getting government handouts, their party reeks of hypocracy. their rich donors spend tax free, again, all the while selling americans on the premise that handouts are killing our budget, their so right!

    May 17, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. jigglesone

    Just asking where is Mitt in all of the Democratic mudslinging? Wasn't he a heart beat away from the Presidency on Nov 6th. That was 6 months ago. Is he still the Governor of something? Shouldn't the highest ranking Republican nominee for President be speaking up? To paraphrase Paul Simon "Where have you gone Mit Romney, a nation turns it's lonley eyes to you".

    May 17, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. tony

    We need a "no morons" in Congress" statute. Why di doctors have to be qualified, but those who decide to restrict who gets what health care can just be religious zealots?

    May 17, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Bob

    Dems are blaming this on a lack of manpower but wouldn't it take extra time to release personal info of taxpayers to rival groups ?

    May 17, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. PAT F

    @Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer: That justifies an enemies list, and using IRS as a tool of Obama's reelection? That is a dictator's rationale, not a democracy rationale.

    May 17, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. thekarl

    So I guess the next plan is to also target companies in industries that are not "green" for O'bummer-care penalties complete with asset seizures where people be guilty until proven innocent and lose their working capital or savings until they hire lawyers and accountants to prove innocence. If you don't think this is possible then you have not read the affordable care act provisions giving massive ne authority to the IRS (40 new regulations and enforcement options); and you don't know how IRS collections work...you ARE guilty until proven innocent.

    May 17, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. RL

    I'm no fan of the IRS but the fact that slime balls like Karl Rove can have, or get, tax exempt status is utterly disgusting.

    May 17, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. PAT F

    @jigglesone: Have you ever heard the expression "If you have nothing to say, don't say anything at all."? Dragging Mitt Romney into this just highlights the fact that you have NO DEFENSE for the White House's Nixonian tactics.

    May 17, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. PracticingTaxGuy

    I gotta agree with FLindependent. If you were looking at a pool of special interest groups applying to be excused from paying tax, and one part of the pool is a group of organizations whose main focus includes belief that paying tax is basically wrong or even illegal, which part of the pool would you focus on? I work directly with the IRS almost every day and I assure you they are pretty well organized and decent to work with – much more so than most states – and they pretty much just focus enforcement on where they see likelihood of problems. If there were people who went overboard the investigations will find them.

    May 17, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. tony

    What keywords would you use for a Google search to find organizations that are trying to falsely obtain tax-exempt status?

    Would some of those words sound politically biased? If so, they probably aren't charities as intended by law.

    May 17, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. ghostriter

    So.....this lady left the post in question in 2010 and this started in 2010......

    Is this really a sound argument?

    May 17, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Suur Kurat

    Watching Miller testify makes me even more fearful of the IRS if such people are in top positions of that organization. What a hack!

    May 17, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Gimmemore

    Meh – this is a stretch...

    May 17, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. bbk

    It makes sense to closely examine any group with "Tea Party" in their name that is claiming to be a non-political organization.

    May 17, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Nick

    So we already know this person likely broke the law – and we're going to let her run health care? This administration's less-than-firm grasp of reality is frightening. Obama might as well be replaced with a cardboard stick figure – he doesn't know what his people are doing and is "shocked" when he gets ambushed by the media.

    May 17, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. Suur Kurat

    The IRS has two tools at their disposal which are used to burden and eventually suck out more tax revenue from the taxpayers: (1). IRC Sec 482 transfer pricing methods and (2).the indirect method of computing taxable income.

    Both methods can be effective techniques of recomputing taxable income if used fairly by competent IRS agents. However, often these methods are used to harass taxpayers into an unjust agreement just to get the IRS off their backs.

    May 17, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Paul S NYNY

    So inquiring minds want to know....How many tax exempt status' were denied?? None....in fact they denied tax exempt status to a progressive reuqest.....these supposedly 501c4 are CHARITIIES,,,,which to me means giving to those that are less fortunate at the moment,,,,not to spout political beliefs from EITHER side.....Of course...if this were done to progressive groups (as in the past) there would still be the same Righteous indignation...right??NOT!!
    So all you've got now is a whole lotta NOTHING....

    May 17, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Nick

    @PracticingTaxGuy: your argument implies that believing in small government or lower/fair taxes is somehow wrong, which would justify targeting groups. Unless I'm mistaken we still have free speech, so targeting anyone for their political beliefs, conservative or liberal, is just plain wrong. That's how dictatorships start.

    May 17, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Suur Kurat

    I am not surprised that the IRS has been run like a Chicago back alley cräp during the Obama administration. The same is true of his Justice Department and State Department.

    Perhaps even Dennis Rodman would make a better president than our precious Barak Hussein Obama who has exhibited no executive level management skills at all. He is more interested in basketball and golf than fulfilling the responsibilities of his office.

    May 17, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. roro

    The guy who started this whole thing was appointed during the Bush administration!!!

    May 17, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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