If you haven’t tuned President Empty Chair out completely, you may recall him making some absurdly tough noises about cleaning house at the IRS and firing some top officials. It has now been confirmed by multiple sources, including ABC News, that one of those officials – Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller – was due to leave in June anyway. He’s not being “fired” at all; he’s leaving on schedule.
But Obama looked America right in the eye and lied through his teeth about demanding Miller’s resignation. That’s almost a scandal unto itself, isn’t it? Shouldn’t reporters be swarming Obama and demanding to know why he made such misleading statements about sacking the IRS commissioner? Or will the excuse be that Obama was once again clueless about what was going on at the IRS, and only discovered Miller was due to leave anyway when he read the newspapers last night? Would even the true Obama dead-enders be stupid enough to believe that about an IRS official whose appointment is directly controlled by the President?
Miller’s replacement as Acting IRS Commissioner is Danny Werfel, formerly of the White House Office of Management and Budget… where he was in charge of sequester planning. Leaving that aside, and meaning no personal insult to Mr. Werfel, but I really don’t think anyone connected with the White House in any way should be in charge of the IRS right now.
The one and only person thus far who really is losing his job is the commissioner in charge of the tax-exempt division, where loyal apparatchiks systematically discriminated against Barack Obama’s political enemies. His name is Joseph Grant, and he’s giving his job up voluntarily, without a hint of punishment or discipline. The IRS statement clearly describes his departure as a planned retirement, not a resignation, and it lists his credentials in the manner of a respectful salute to an honored colleague, not a man resigning in disgrace:
Joseph Grant, Commissioner of Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division, has announced his plans to retire on June 3rd. Before this position Joseph was the Deputy Commissioner, TE/GE. He joined the IRS in August 2005, as Director of the EP Rulings & Agreements division, became the Director of Employee Plans in 2006, and became TE/GE Deputy Commissioner in 2007. Before that, he was the Chief Operating Officer and a Deputy Executive Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Joseph also served on the staff of the Oversight and Social Security subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee.
I see media headlines all over the place describing Grant as the second person to “lose his job” or “resign” over the IRS scandal. That is not true. No one has lost his job over this scandal yet. The Acting Commissioner was due to leave anyway, unless President Obama actively re-appointed him for another term. The commissioner of the tax-exempt organizations department is retiring gracefully.
Furthermore, Grant only became the commissioner of his department last week. He was the Deputy Commissioner before that, so he has strong links to the scandal, but he wasn’t the top executive when the outrage occurred. That would be one Sara Hall Ingram. And she didn’t get fired or disciplined.
She got promoted. She is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Office. In other words, the person in charge during the worst abuse-of-power scandal in modern history is now the chief enforcer for ObamaCare.
Ingram was also richly rewarded for her loyal service to the regime. According to the Washington Examiner, she got a $7000 bonus in 2009, $34,440 in 2010, $35,400 in 2011, and $26,550 in 2012. That makes $103,390 in bonuses for the official who was either coordinating this outrageous abuse, or was blissfully unaware of massive illegal behavior in her department.
The President is supposed to personally approve the payment of bonuses over $25,000, according to federal civil service guidelines. The IRS paid over $92 million in bonuses over the last four years. Remember that the next time Democrats start whining about the horrors of austerity, and sobbing that the first dollar of “spending cuts” means they’ll have to furlough air-traffic controllers and first responders.
The Examiner duly notes that Ingram also got a big bonus during the Bush Administration, when she was cited for distinguished service as an IRS lawyer, at a time when the IRS was being criticized for generally sub-par performance. So… we’re supposed to believe this Distinguished Service Award-Winning IRS official, lavished with huge bonuses year after year, was completely unaware of what her subordinates were doing, over the course of several years?
And now she’s a good choice to serve as conductor for the ObamaCare train wreck? Where she’ll have access to what the Wall Street Journal describes as “the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted?”
Known as the Federal Data Services Hub, the project is taking the IRS’s own records (for income and employment status) and centralizing them with information from Social Security (identity), Homeland Security (citizenship), Justice (criminal history), HHS (enrollment in entitlement programs and certain medical claims data) and state governments (residency).
The data hub will be used as the verification system for ObamaCare’s complex subsidy formula. All insurers, self-insured businesses and government health programs must submit reports to the IRS about the individuals they cover, which the IRS will cross-check against tax returns.
Good luck in advance to anyone who gets caught in this system’s gears, assuming it even works. Centralizing so much personal information in one place is another invitation for the IRS wigglers in some regional office—or maybe higher up—to make political decisions about enforcement.
How about the exact same person who was in charge of it last time?