Sarah Hall Ingram, the former commissioner of the IRS department tied to the inappropriate targeting of conservative nonprofits, and who is now running the IRS office responsible for implementing Obamacare, will finally testify before Congress this week, following repeated efforts to prevent Republicans from questioning her.
“Although the Committee has requested several times that Ms. Ingram speak on the record about the operation implementation of ObamaCare, until this hearing, the IRS had refused to allow her to do so,” committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) wrote in a letter to ranking member Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) on Monday. The letter was in response to last week’s request from Cummings for four additional witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing (Ingram is currently scheduled as the only witness). A GOP aide says Democrats were probably trying to “take the heat” off of Ingram and dilute the focus of the hearing.
Issa rejected the request, noting that Republicans have been seeking to interview Ingram about the IRS’s role in Obamacare implementation since July, when acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel “personally interceded,” as Issa put it, to prevent Ingram from appearing before a committee hearing.
Republicans also sought in September to question Ingram on the matter of Obamacare implementation, during a previously scheduled interview regarding IRS targetting of conservative groups, but again the IRS officials declined to let her discuss the issue, despite saying they had “substantive concerns” about letting her do so. That is also when Ingram agreed to testify before the committee.
“There appears to be no dispute that Ms. Ingram’s testimony is instrumental in the IRS’s operation implementation of ObamaCare,” Issa writes, and concludes that additional witnesses “will not be necessary.”
Although the hearing is meant to focus specifically on the IRS’s role in implementing Obamacare, Republicans will probably ask Ingram about her role in the targeting scandal, given that she oversaw the exempt-organizations division, led by embattled IRS official Lois Lerner, who recently announced her retirement.