Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner’s husband’s law firm has strong Obama connections

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official who apologized for targeting conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny is married to an attorney whose firm hosted a voter registration organizing event for the Obama presidential campaign, praised President Obama’s policy work, and had one of its partners appointed by Obama to a key ambassadorship.

IRS Exempt Organizations Division director Lois G. Lerner, who has been described as “apolitical” in mainstream press coverage of the IRS scandal, is married to tax attorney Michael R. Miles, a partner at the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. The firm is based in Atlanta but has a number of offices including in Washington, D.C., where Miles works.

The 400-attorney firm hosted an organizing meeting at its Atlanta office for people interested in helping with voter registration for the Obama re-election campaign.

This is not the first of Lerner’s connections to the president to surface. Earlier this week The Daily Caller reported that Lerner personally signed the tax-exemption approval for a shady charity run by Obama’s half-brother, after an inexplicably brief one-month application process. (Related: Lois Lerner approved exemption for Obama brother’s ‘charity’)

“Come learn more about how you can create, organize, and host a voter registration event here in Atlanta in the coming weeks. We will be meeting at at 7:30pm at 999 Peachtree St. NE, in the law offices of Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan,” read an event posting on my.barackobama.com.

Longtime Sutherland partner David Adelman, the former Democratic minority whip of the Georgia state senate, serves as ambassador to the Republic of Singapore in the Obama administration.

“Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP announces that its partner and Georgia State Sen. David I. Adelman, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore. President Obama nominated Sen. Adelman on November 20, 2009,” according to a Sutherland press release dated March 19, 2010.

“Sutherland has a great tradition of excellence.  It has been a privilege to be a part of such a fine firm,” Adelman said at the time of his confirmation, according to the Sutherland press release.

“I am humbled by the confidence President Obama and Secretary Clinton have in me, and I look forward to building on the strong U.S.-Singapore relationship,” said Adelman, who joined Sutherland in 1993 and spent his entire career in private practice with the firm.

Sutherland heaped praised on Obama’s work in the U.S. Senate on legal issues pertaining to employee misclassification, which Sutherland works intensely enough on to have launched the website workerclassification.com.

“The subject of worker classification is likely to take on increased importance in light of the recent election of Barack Obama as President. While in the Senate, President Obama showed an interest in strengthening workers’ rights, particularly with respect to whether they should be classified as employees,” according to a Sutherland press release dated April 28, 2009.

“Along with others, he introduced the Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act of 2007. This legislation sought to give regulatory authority to the IRS to establish standards for properly classifying workers and to repeal the Section 530 safe harbor provisions that currently allow employers to rely on industry practice or professional advice as a reasonable basis for classifying workers. Also as a senator, President Obama, along with others, introduced the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act on September 29, 2008, which sought ‘to provide a special penalty for employers who misclassify employees as nonemployees,” according to the Sutherland press release.

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Patrick Howley