IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram denies practicing witchcraft during House hearing

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An Internal Revenue Service official criticized by Republicans for the agency’s controversial targeting of political groups denied practicing various forms of black magic during testimony before a House panel on Wednesday.

Sarah Hall Ingram, former head of the IRS division that singled out tax-exemption applicants for extra scrutiny based on ideology, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she has never practiced witchcraft or consorted with Satan.

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) prompted the exchange in an apparent attempt to mock Republicans who have demonized Ingram, now head of the IRS group that oversees certain aspects of President Obama’s healthcare law — namely by enforcing the “individual mandate” that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.

The targeting actions, detailed in an inspector general’s report released in May, largely affected conservative groups. But Democrats have provided evidence, including IRS training documents, that show the agency also focused on progressive organizations.

Ingram said she left her former position in 2010, about six months before a deputy official learned about the targeting. Below are some of the highlights from her testimony:

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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Anne Bartlett · October 9, 2013