SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - An Internal Revenue Service official, who was supposed to speak at Western New England University Law School's graduation , has backed out of the engagement as the agency remains under criticism for its targeting of conservative groups.
According to a statement from Barbara Moffat, Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs for WNE, Lois Lerner has decided to withdraw as guest speaker for the School of Law's commencement ceremony this weekend.
Lerner is the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups.
The federal tax collecting agency recently apologized for targeting groups with "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their names. Some of those groups had their applications for tax-exempt status delayed.
Between 2010 and 2012, the I.R.S. flagged 300 groups applying for "tax exempt" status, asking for additional analysis. 75 of those groups were "conservative" based.
Last week, Lerner said that there was no political bias behind the targeting of these groups, but couldn't produce any examples of similar targeting of other groups.
According to Moffat, Lerner told WNE that she wished to have the ceremony focus on the achievements of the graduates.