Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS executive in charge of the tax exempt division in 2010 when it began targeting conservative Tea Party, evangelical and pro-Israel groups for harassment, got more than $100,000 in bonuses between 2009 and 2012.
More recently, Ingram was promoted to serve as director of the tax agency’s Obamacare program office, a position that put her in charge of the vast expansion of the IRS’ regulatory power and staffing in connection with federal health care, ABC reported earlier today.
Ingram received a $7,000 bonus in 2009, according to data obtained by The Washington Examiner from the IRS, then a $34,440 bonus in 2010, $35,400 in 2011 and $26,550 last year, for a total of $103,390. Her annual salary went from $172,500 to $177,000 during the same period.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described the Ingram awards as “stunning, just stunning.”
Bonuses as large as those awarded to Ingram typically require presidential approval, according to federal personnel regulations.
High-ranking career federal civil servants like Ingram are eligible for recognition through citations known as Distinguished and Merit Service awards that can carry with them cash bonuses of anywhere from five to 35 percent of their base salary.
The largest of such awards, however, require presidential approval, according to the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the federal civil service workforce.
“If the recommended award is over $25,000, the Director of OPM reviews the nomination and forwards his/her recommendation to the President for approval,” according to the OPM guidance.
A key point on OPM’s “checklist” for federal bosses considering an employee for such a bonus is making sure that “the proposed award recipient has not been involved in any action or activity that could cause the President embarrassment …”
Ingram has some history as a government lawyer receiving controversial bonuses. According to The Washington Post, she received a $47,900 bonus for distinguished service in 2004 from President George W. Bush.
Earlier Thursday, The Washington Examiner reported that the IRS paid out more than $92 million in bonuses during the four-year period of Ingram’s awards to her and nearly 17,000 other agency employees. Those bonuses averaged more than $5,500 per employee.
Mark Tapscott is executive editor of The Washington Examiner.