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Questioner initially denied IRS Q&A was set up

Questioner initially denied IRS Q&A was set up

At congressional hearings today, it was revealed that IRS planted question at ABA mtg disclosing targeting of conservatives via communications between Celia Roady, a tax lawyer who asked the question, and Lois Lerner of the IRS who was on an ABA panel.  Roady has a deep background in tax exempt issues and once served as an expert in the House investigation of New Gingrich in the late 1990s.

Roady confirmed the arrangement after the testimony with TPM:

Celia Roady, a partner in the Washington D.C. office of Morgan Lewis and a member of the the IRS’ Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities, said she got a call from Lois Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax-exempt organizations division, on May 9, the day before Lerner appeared on a panel at the American Bar Association tax section’s annual meeting.

“On May 9, I received a call from Lois Lerner, who told me that she wanted to address an issue after her prepared remarks at the ABA Tax Section’s Exempt Organizations Committee Meeting, and asked if I would pose a question to her after her remarks,” Roady said in the statement, obtained by TPM. “I agreed to do so, and she then gave me the question that I asked at the meeting the next day. We had no discussion thereafter on the topic of the question, nor had we spoken about any of this before I received her call. She did not tell me, and I did not know, how she would answer the question.”

But in a prior TPM report on May 14, attendees at the conference stated that Roady denied any prearrangement when questioned immediately after the Q&A which had shocked the audience:

“We all just sort of looked at each other and couldn’t quite understand,” Ellen Aprill, a professor at Loyola Law School who was in the audience, told TPM on Monday. “It seemed so odd that it was such a detailed response to the question rather than part of her prepared remarks.”

Paul Streckfus, the editor of EO Tax Journal, an online publication for exempt organization tax practitioners, told TPM he had been “dozing off” when Roady had asked the question, but had “jumped almost out of my seat” when he realized what Lerner was saying. (Streckfus recorded the panel and provided the transcript of Roady’s question to TPM.) Once Lerner had finished, Streckfus rushed up along with another reporter to question Lerner further, but she begged off….

It’s not unheard of for questions to be planted at events like Friday’s, but no one TPM talked to believed that Roady’s question had set up in advance. Both Aprill and Streckfus said they had asked Roady directly about the issue. Roady denied any arrangement.

“I know that some people in the audience thought it was set up, but I talked to Celia [Roady],” Aprill said. “It was not a set up. And I believe Celia. I’ve known Celia for years.”

I reached out to Roady, Aprill and Streckfus for comment, but have not had a response.

UPDATE 7:10pm EST: 

The following response was received via email from Ellen Aprill after this post went live:

“In light of information today, I now see that I must have misunderstood/misinterpreted her.  I think I asked her something like, “what just happened” and I think she responded along the lines “I was surprised.”  I thought she was referring to the whole interchange and she must have been referring to the specifics of Ms. Lerner’s answer.”

UPDATE 5-18-2013 2:50 p.m. — The following email was just received:

Bill, thanks for your email. I think I’m now up to 20 media inquiries about recent IRS developments, so I am a bit backed up

Unfortunately, I did not have my tape recorder with me when I saw Celia Roady on Friday, May 10, to which you reference. The panel had just ended and people were milling about and I was heading for the men’s room when I saw Ms. Roady talking to some people. I remember saying something to her about whether her question to Lois Lerner was a set-up, which was my initial assumption. I don’t know for sure whether she heard me in the confusion and I’m not sure whether the answer I thought I heard was in response to my question or to someone else’s. My best recollection is that she merely smiled when I asked her in passing if it had been a set-up. I usually always have my tape recorder with me at these meetings, but I don’t take it with me to the men’s room, as I don’t want to record those sounds. Hope this helps. Paul Streckfus.

NEW POSTWas Celia Roady, who asked the planted question, a victim of the IRS?


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if their mouth is moving

The Drill SGT | May 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm

professional courtesy among professional liberals. She was a part of the stunt, lied when questioned, and is lying now.

She’s a lying liberal lawyer.

So Roady was shocked at the detailed response she received to a question she agreed in advance to ask of an IRS official presenting at an ABA meeting? Let’s review that question:
“Lois, a few months ago there were some concerns about the IRS’s review of 501(c)(4) organizations, of applications from tea party organizations, I was just wondering if you could provide an update.”
Ok, like most libs, I am sure she was expecting an eyeroll response confirming that all tea partiers are indeed lunatics and were completely paranoid for thinking the benevolent IRS would abuse their power. I have no trouble imagining Roady being a bit floored by that revelation actually.

What is probably most incredible about the question planting fiasco is that it was presumed an audience member at this meeting would know of and ask about this concern while we are also expected to believe the President of the United States would be just another stunned audience member were he sitting and listening to Lerner’s response. Imagine the giant thought bubble next to the Obama in the audience:” Dang this lady knows way more about what is going on in this government than I do.”

I mean why would he think there was any targeting of conservatives when it was just a huge coincidence anyone donating big dollars to Romney was audited. Not like Congress was investigating targeting of Tea Party organizations – oh wait. Now we learn anyone near Obama in the Treasury who learned of the investigation just decided not to trouble Obama with that information. Lots of people knew it seems but nobody thought to clue in poor clueless Obama. Amazing.

    Obama wants us to think he has no idea what’s going on in his administration, but that’s just not plausible. I don’t expect that he knows every single little detail of everything that goes on in the government, of course not. But he’s not a stupid man. He’s the president, and his staff knew about this. I just don’t believe that he wasn’t told.

The planted question was so the IRS could get out in front of the AP story they knew was coming. It seems they panicked a bit, the method didn’t really make sense – but it did give Lerner the chance to blame “low-level employees” and apologize on a Friday, hoping the story might blow over by Monday.

No such luck. IRS is far too powerful. But it defies all logic to claim there was not a political and ideological component, else the distribution of groups challenged and asked outrageous questions about membership, politics, and their prayer content would be proportionate among liberal and conservative groups.

Nobody should be buying the lies. A Special Prosecutor is absolutely needed.

Sadly I was abused by the IRS in a divorce, she earned almost no money, I earned all the money, she claimed the deductions and used it for a credit, the IRS pounded me and would not grant me my legal deductions…

And since she cleaned out our joint account I had no money, no means to fight, no means to quickly recover from suddenly being on the street because of her.

I would love any plan that ends with them done and gone. Fair tax, sales tax, corporate tax only, anything….

I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that her name rhymes with toady. We know she’s a lefty because she was involved in the campaign to oust Gingrich.
On a more serious note, I have been a member of the ABA Section of Taxation for more than 40 years. I have always believed that its leadership is far too close to the IRS. After all, the vast majority of its members are in private practice and have an overriding ethical obligation to advocate zealously for taxpayers.

[…] But no matter what the polls say — low-information voters care more about celebrity mastectomies than about politics — it’s obvious the administration is lying about pretty much everything. For example, IRS officials tried to blame the problems on an alleged “surge” in non-profit applications that didn’t actually happen, and this bogus rationale was offered via a dishonest ruse that they lied about. […]

[…] But no matter what the polls say — low-information voters care more about celebrity mastectomies than about politics — it’s obvious the administration is lying about pretty much everything. For example, IRS officials tried to blame the problems on an alleged “surge” in non-profit applications that didn’t actually happen, and this bogus rationale was offered via a dishonest ruse that they lied about. […]