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Wednesday, 16 October 2013 18:00

IRS Officials Visited White House Over 150 Times During Period of Scandal

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Further investigation into the IRS scandal involving draconian scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status reveals that there was significant collusion between the IRS and various government entities, including the FEC and the White House. Documents show that two IRS officials made over 100 visits to the White House during the period in which the tax agency was targeting conservative organizations.

IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram reportedly made 165 visits to the White House to meet with an Obama official who was exchanging confidential taxpayer information with the IRS. Ingram headed the IRS office that oversaw tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012.

Likewise, IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman visited the White House 157 times — more than any of the most trusted members of the president’s cabinet, including Kathleen Sebellius and Janet Napolitano. As noted by the Daily Caller, “By contrast, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson only visited the White House once during four years of service in the George W. Bush administration.”

The period of Shulman’s extensive access to the White House coincides with the time that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups.

Documents show that Ingram was never present during Shulman's meetings, and Shulman was never present during Ingram's appearances, but both IRS officials played significant roles in the scandal that has been the subject of investigation for several months. It involves the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS openly targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization status between 2010 and 2012. Those groups faced additional audits and scrutiny by the agency. The audits cost the organizations tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of employee hours, and ultimately delayed the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.

Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George has been conducting an investigation into the IRS being used as a tool to target groups over the course of two election cycles, and has determined that the tax agency was using inappropriate criteria to identify tax-exempt applications for review by a team of specialists, including applications from organizations with “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” or “9/12” in their name.

E-mails obtained by National Review indicate that the IRS was not the only organization involved in the systematic and deliberate targeting of conservative groups.

According to National Review, IRS official Lois Lerner exchanged e-mails with an attorney at the Federal Election Commission’s general counsel on two separate occasions wherein she influenced the record before the FEC’s vote in the case of a conservative non-profit organization.

The correspondence suggests the discrimination against conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and into the FEC, where an attorney from the agency’s enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group, the American Future Fund, before recommending that the commission prosecute it for violations of campaign-finance law.

Lerner had been employed by the FEC from 1986 to 1995, and had developed a reputation for aggressively investigating conservative groups while there.

But the scandal reaches even further into the Obama administration — into the White House staff.

The Daily Caller reports, “Of Ingram’s 165 White House meetings with White House staff, a staggering 155 of them were hosted by deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, according to a June Watchdog.Org analysis of White House visitor records.”

Ingram exchanged confidential information with Lambrew as well as White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz, according to a 2012 e-mail obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Meanwhile, the White House has taken to removing visitor logs recording details of these meetings, citing the government shutdown as the reason for their removal.

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