Lois Lerner Admission Baffled Audience At Tax Panel

by - May 14, 2013

“Instead of referring to the cases as advocacy cases, they actually used case names on this list,” Lerner said, according to a transcript of the meeting. “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate — that’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review.” Lerner went on to also acknowledge that the IRS had sent some of these organizations questions that were “far too broad,” in some cases even asking for contributor names. Within minutes, her words had made headlines. Within hours, White House Press Secretary Jary Carney was taking questions about the IRS’ actions. Within days, President Obama was expressing concern, and Attorney General Eric Holder had announced an investigation into the matter. But back at the Grand Hyatt on Friday, Lerner’s words were met with surprise and bafflement. The fact that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration had a report on the issue just days from release was not yet widely known. Audience members couldn’t understand why Lerner had chosen that panel as the venue in which to make her admission. While Lerner’s remarks have since been referred to as a “slip” by lawmakers and media reports, several people in the audience on Friday said they saw Lerner refer to notes when answering the question, as if she’d prepared the response in advance. The whole thing was so strange, some even speculated that the question itself had been a plant.

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