Staffer who arranged White House meetings for IRS officials now works for liberal billionaire
The Obama administration staffer who organized White House meetings between then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman and a top Obama administration official at the same time the IRS began targeting conservatives now works for a progressive billionaire and major Democratic donor.
Former Obama administration official Jeffrey Zients met with former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman and other IRS officials at the White House as early as January 2010, the month before the IRS began targeting conservative groups, and subsequently met a number of times at the White House as the targeting progressed.
Zients, who served in the Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) beginning in June 2009 and served as OMB acting director from January 2012 to April 2013, met with Shulman at the White House at integral points on the IRS scandal timeline.
Five of those meetings were scheduled by Margaret Weiss, who served as special assistant to Zients at OMB from June 2009 to May 2012. Weiss, who changed her last name to Maloney after her 2012 marriage, was 24 years old when she began working for Zients.
Weiss also participated in some high-level meetings during that time with Shulman and a union boss for U.S. Treasury Department employees. Last week, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa subpoenaed the Treasury Department for documents relating to the targeting scandal.
Weiss now works as Special Assistant at Monumental Sports and Entertainment, owned by billionaire Democratic donor Ted Leonsis. Leonsis, who once criticized President Obama’s class warfare rhetoric during the 2012 campaign, nevertheless maxed out in Obama contributions in both 2008 and 2012.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t talk about that,” Weiss told The Daily Caller when reached for comment Monday about her work for Zients.
Beginning in late 2009 and continuing until early 2010, immediately prior to the beginning of the tea party targeting, Weiss had a series of White House meetings with Shulman and Colleen Kelley, head of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents IRS employees.
On November 16, 2009, Weiss took a personal one-on-one meeting with Shulman at 9 am in Room 216 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, according to White House visitor logs.
On December 1, 2009, Weiss met one-on-one with NTEU head Colleen Kelley in Room 216 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.
On January 11, 2010, Weiss met with Shulman alone in Room 216 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The IRS began targeting conservative groups in February 2010, according to a report by Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George.
On March 25, 2010, Weiss scheduled a meeting between Zients, Shulman, Shulman’s chief of staff Jonathan Davis, and Frederick Schindler, an IRS official who went on to become director of implementation oversight in the IRS Affordable Care Act office. The meeting was held March 26 in Room 216 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.
In April 2010, the IRS began targeting groups with terms like “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their titles.
Weiss left OMB in May 2012 and joined Monumental Sports and Entertainment.
As The Daily Caller reported, Zients met with Shulman, Davis and IRS spokesman Frank Keith at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House complex on April 24, 2012.
The next day, April 25, the IRS’s chief counsel’s office — led by William Wilkins, who met with Obama at the White House that same week — sent Washington-based IRS officials “additional comments on the draft guidance.” These guidelines covered approving or denying tea party tax-exempt applications, according to a report on the IRS scandal compiled by George, the inspector general.
Zients, whose extended absence from the country since his resignation from OMB has generated concern in the administration, was recently in South Africa, according to an OMB spokesperson. It is unclear when Zients will return to the United States.
The White House did not return a request for comment.