A Democratic Congressman mocked the GOP’s effort to demonize an IRS official during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday by asking her if she was a witch consorting with the devil.
The official, Affordable Care Act Office Director Sarah Hall Ingram, said in response to questioning from Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) that she has never worked with the devil, could not fly, and was not responsible for perverting the youth “in Salem or anywhere else.”
The unusual exchange came during a hearing examining the IRS’s role in implementing and enforcing Obamacare. Led by Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA), Republicans seized on a partially redacted email between Hall Ingram and members of the Obama administration that included mention of 6103, a rule that requires tax return information to be kept confidential and prevents officials from disseminating the information beyond a small group of IRS officials. In a lengthy exchange, during which Hall Ingram denied sending tax return information to the White House, Republicans demanded to know why parts of the email had been redacted and accused the 31-year veteran of the agency of passing on illegal data to assist the Obama administration in winning legal challenges against Obamacare.
Connolly then poked fun at the GOP with his questions. Watch it:
Hall Ingram added that the 6103 rule includes exemptions requiring the IRS “to share tax data in narrow circumstances to forward some policy that Congress has in mind” and that Obamacare allows officials to share tax data “for the purpose of the recipients using it to determine eligibility for the benefits of the marketplaces and Medicaid.”
The recipient, Hall Ingram explained, are not political appointees, but rather “the individual marketplaces and Medicaid offices who are using the data under the new part of 6103 to make income based determinations on eligibility.”
Hall Ingram headed the IRS division that scrutinized political groups applying for 501 (c4) status before leaving the division to implement the health care law. She testified that since the targeting scandal, “IRS has created new processes to protect the tax information that would be accessed when consumers apply for insurance through ObamaCare’s exchanges.”
“It is secured behind the scenes,” she said. “It is not shown to anyone who is applying or who is assisting them.”