IRS specifically wanted to reveal mistakes at lawyer meeting
On Monday, an agency statement said the IRS specifically wanted to reveal the information in that forum because it knew a report from the IRS Inspector General was about to be released.
"The ABA Tax Section conference was an important meeting for a key part of the Exempt Organization community" and it was "important" for members to "hear first-hand that we made mistakes in handling the process."
The agency had three press officers on hand to field questions from a handful of reporters who were present.
The question itself came from a long-time professional colleague of Lerner's, Celia Roady, a Washington tax lawyer at the firm of Morgan Lewis who served on the agency's Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities for a two year term starting in 2010 and has attended numerous professional conferences with Lerner.
In a brief telephone interview Monday, Roady said she was "as stunned as anybody to get a response" to her question.
But she declined to comment when asked how it was she happened to ask the question in the first place, referring Reuters to the IRS, which also declined to elaborate.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The decision by the IRS to reveal to a small room of tax lawyers last week that it had targeted conservative groups is now itself the subject of a Congressional inquiry.
In a letter Tuesday to Steven Miller, acting commissioner of the IRS, Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley asked for all records relating to the decision to reveal its mistakes at a meeting on Friday of an American Bar Association committee instead of to Congress.
An additional link with a good article regarding Lerner, below...
IRS Officials Admission Baffled Audience At Tax Panel
But back at the Grand Hyatt on Friday, Lerners words were met with surprise and bafflement. The fact that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration had a report on the issue just days from release was not yet widely known. Audience members couldnt understand why Lerner had chosen that panel as the venue in which to make her admission. While Lerners remarks have since been referred to as a slip by lawmakers and media reports, several people in the audience on Friday said they saw Lerner refer to notes when answering the question, as if shed prepared the response in advance. The whole thing was so strange, some even speculated that the question itself had been a plant.
We all just sort of looked at each other and couldnt 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 Roadys question to TPM.) Once Lerner had finished, Streckfus rushed up along with another reporter to question Lerner further, but she begged off.
Im sorry, I cant answer any questions, Ive got to go, Streckfus said Lerner told him.
the bold is mine
It could have been handled much better. Instead the Prez looked clueless.