Guy Benson


Remember Sarah Hall Ingram?  If not, here's a quick refresher:

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation. Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today. 


Ingram's top lieutenant has joined Lois Lerner on administrative leave (temporary paid vacation) for improperly receiving gifts at a lavish IRS conference in 2010.  Buzzfeed reports:
 

The IRS has put a top official in charge of implementing Obamacare on administrative leave after it was discovered he had accepted $1,100 in free food and other items during a 2010 conference, according to multiple House and Senate sources. The IRS informed congressional staff investigating the agency that Fred Schindler had been put on leave for accepting the gifts. A second unnamed staffer in the division was also put on leave for accepting the gifts, the aides said. Schindler is the deputy for Sarah Hall Ingram, who is heading up implementation of the Affordable Care Act for the IRS. Ingram has come under scrutiny recently because she oversaw the division of the IRS which targeted conservative organizations seeking nonprofit status. According to congressional sources, the suspensions appear to be the first examples of employees being punished as part of a separate scandal over the service’s spending on conferences.


Just so we're all on the same page, a senior IRS official in charge of monitoring and enforcing your healthcare arrangements starting next year is being disciplined for alleged unethical behavior in connection to an IRS public relations disaster that is separate and distinct from the abusive targeting scandal -- although his boss oversaw the department at the heart of the latter controversy.  The systemic and political targeting revelations are far more damaging to the agency's reputation and to the republic, but the parallel 'wasteful conferences' kerfuffle is another potent symptom of an unaccountable federal government gone wild.  The GSA drew intense fire last year when details of its infamous, opulent, and taxpayer-funded $800,000 Vegas blowout came to light.  We now know that the IRS spent five times that amount on a single conference in Anaheim, as part of a $50 million party binge over a three-year span -- all paid for by John Q. Taxpayer.  The cherry atop this sundae of infuriating waste?  America's sweethearts at the Internal Revenue Service have lost track of their receipts:


 
Ironies abound.  The "made in China" aside made me laugh out loud, but the money line from CNN's Dana Bash is this: "The IRS did not appear to follow the very rules it requires each and every taxpayer to follow."  The contempt for the hardworking taxpayers of this country is off the charts, and the vast, growing federak bureaucracy is out of control.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography