'I'm not good at math': Key IRS official embroiled in Tea Party scandal cancels commencement speech at alma mater
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official at the center of the exploding IRS scandal abruptly withdrew on Wednesday from a planned speech at her alma mater’s 2013 graduation ceremony.
Lois Lerner, director of the IRS Exempt Organization Division, the division responsible for reviewing tax-exempt status applications for the IRS, was also set to receive an honorary award at the Western New England University (WNE) School of Law’s May 18 ceremony.
Lerner withdrew to keep the focus on the graduates rather than on her controversial actions, a spokesman for the university told Campus Reform on Wednesday.
“She grew concerned that the focus would be on her and the development the IRS rather than on the law graduates,” said Dave Stawasz, spokesman for WNE.
In a press conference about the growing scandal last Friday, Lerner famously downplayed her own mathematical skills when she was asked by a reporter to clarify how many conservative groups had been inappropriately targeted by IRS agents.
“So, a quarter of the 300 though, we are talking about 75 or so?” Tom Costello of NBC News asked Lerner, seeking a clarification on the number of groups singled-out by Lerner’s department.
“Um, is that a quarter?” Lerner asked. “That’s correct. Thank you, I’m not good at math!”
“I’m a lawyer, not an accountant,” she added in response to audience laughter.
Her comments elicited a strong response on Twitter, where many users mocked her.
Reporters and some critics have dubbed Lerner the face of the IRS Scandal due to her high profile role as the director of the division responsible for zealously auditing conservative groups.
Lerner is a 1978 graduate of Western New England’s Law School. The school praised in her in a press release for the commencement for designing forms for applying for tax exempt status from the IRS and for overseeing over 900 employees.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Campus Reform's parent organization, the Leadership Institute, was likely one of the many organizations inappropriately targeted for an audit by the Internal Revenue Service.