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IRS official who oversaw Cincinnati exempt operations office during scandal gets promotion

The IRS official in charge of the exempt organizations office in the Cincinnati branch at the time conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were unfairly targeted just got a promotion.

Cindy Thomas has been appointed to the senior technical adviser team for the Director of Exempt Organizations.

Thomas, a 35-year IRS veteran, will fill the spot vacated by Sharon Light. Light, a one-time close adviser to Lois Lerner, is the sixth senior IRS official to leave the agency. 

Lerner is the employee at the center of the political storm that hit the nation earlier this year. She was the first IRS agent to publicly acknowledge wrongdoing.  

Light has “accepted a position with the American Cancer Society, leaving a critical vacancy in the Senior Technical Adviser team for the Director of Exempt Organizations,” Kenneth Corbin wrote in a morning email to his employees.

“Cindy brings a strong background in EO Determinations and the history of the organization,” Corbin added. “And, since she is located in Cincinnati, she will provide a voice for the process and challenges faced in determinations work.”

On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa demanded in a letter to Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub that the FEC turn over records of more than five years of communications with the IRS.

Issa's letter came after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., made a similar request after discovering a series of 2009 inter-agency exchanges in which Lerner might have inappropriately shared confidential tax information. 

The exchanges are related to the conservative groups American Future Fund and American Issues Project and were discovered during investigations into the targeting scandal, according to the committee.

Copies of the six exchanges show Lerner’s name several times as the sender and receiver. And in the first email, the sender is identified as an attorney in the FEC’s enforcement division although the person's name is redacted.

In the exchanges, the attorney acknowledges he cannot ask for information about tax-exempt applications, but asks whether American Future Fund and American Issues Project had received exempt status.

Lerner replies in one email: “What can we do to help here.”

Earlier this month, Issa subpoenaed the Treasury Department for documents pertaining to the IRS targeting scandal, after accusing the tax-collection agency of being slow to produce documents.

Saturday marks the three-month anniversary of the IRS scandal.