Now Runs Obamacare Division
The outgoing commissioner of the IRS is in the hot seat Friday, scheduled to testify for the first time on his agency's scandalous practice of targeting conservative groups -- after it was revealed that another implicated official is now in charge of an Obamacare unit.
Steven Miller, the acting commissioner who was ousted by the administration earlier this week, will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee Friday morning.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are sure to have plenty of questions for Miller, as they search for who was responsible for the program. Outrage mounted after lawmakers learned that the IRS official who led the tax-exempt organizations unit when the targeting took place -- Sarah Hall Ingram -- has since moved over to the IRS office responsible for Obamacare.
"Stunning. Just stunning," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in reaction to the latest development.
The acknowledgement comes after the administration announced that Ingram's successor Joseph Grant -- who had only been on the job a few days -- would be retiring...
Also scheduled to testify is J. Russell George -- the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration -- and the man whose report released this week exposed the IRS practice that led to Miller's ouster (though Miller was apparently planning to leave the agency anyway).
President Obama, meanwhile, maintained Thursday that he didn't know about the investigation into the IRS program until it was made public.
The Obamacare official in question had been serving as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations from 2009 to 2012 -- the division included the group that targeted TEA Partiers -- and has since left to serve as director of the IRS' Affordable Care Act division. That unit is responsible for enforcing parts of the healthcare law, including the fines associated with the so-called individual mandate -- the requirement to buy health insurance.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), citing her current position and history with the scandal-marred unit, reinforced his call Thursday for the IRS to be blocked from implementing the healthcare law. "Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans' healthcare," he said.
While still the commissioner of the Tax-Exempt & Government Entities Division, Ingram was assigned to head the implementation of Obamacare at the IRS in 2010 after the law was enacted. It is not clear when she stopped being the head of the tax-exempt office or how active her role was there while she was implementing Obamacare.
But the official who succeeded her, Grant, is now leaving the agency in the wake of the scandal. His retirement was announced Thursday, even though he only took the job May 8.
Meanwhile, Obama appointed a new acting commissioner after the prior IRS chief announced his resignation.
The revelations at the Friday hearing could add more headaches for the Obama administration, as it tries to juggle its response to several scandals at once.
It's unclear whether more officials will resign at the IRS in the days to come.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 05/17/2013
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