Sarah Hall Ingram, the Internal Revenue Service official who used to head the office directly involved in the targeting of conservative groups, may have shared confidential taxpayer information with White House officials, according to 2012 emails uncovered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Ingram, who now heads the IRS’s Obamacare enforcement division, counseled senior White House officials on how to deal with a lawsuit from religious groups opposed to the Obamacare contraception mandate.
Sarah Hall Ingram, director of the Affordable Care Act Office at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) , looks over papers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, while testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing examining the IRS role in Implementing and enforcing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Credit: AP)
White House officials, including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, were also apparently involved in sharing confidential taxpayer information, according to the Oversight emails.
The emails provided to Oversight by IRS officials included “numerous redactions with the signifier '6103,'" as The Daily Caller notes.
And this is important.
Section 6103 of the IRS code prohibits federal employees from “disclos[ing] any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee.”
But the emails are littered with redactions citing this code, meaning there may have contained private taxpayer information.
The penalty for disclosing confidential taxpayer information could include up to five years in prison.
“Thanks, David. Thanks for the information on ,” said Lambrew in a July 20, 2012, email to IRS official David Fish.
“I am still hoping to understand whether the 50 percent rule is moot if the organization does not offer goods and services for sale to the general public. Do we assume that organizations like  do offer goods and services for sale?” the email adds.
Meanwhile, an email between Montz and Ingram and few others references the “ memo” and the “ letter” in a discussion about groups that are not required to file 990s.
During her testimony before House Oversight Committee Wednesday, Ingram said she couldn’t recall any documents that contained confidential taxpayer information.
“Well one of the areas of interest is there’s a significant redaction that quotes the statute 6103. Do you know who is underneath that blackout?” Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked Ingram.
“I don’t recall the document so I can’t help you with what’s underneath that redaction,” she said.
“Her response has not put concerns to rest,” Oversight staffer Frederick Hill said. ”This caught people’s eye.”
Rep. Issa, for his part, has requested original, un-redacted copies of the emails, saying that Section 6103 may not be misused "for the purpose of concealing information from a congressional inquiry."
Disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner, who earlier this year plead her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, may have also received emails containing private taxpayer information.
Here are the emails:
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