Obama's Meeting With IRS Union Leader Not a Smoking Gun

IRS union chief Colleen Kelley was at the White House for a forum, not a private meeting with POTUS.

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UPDATED 5/20/13: This story has been updated to include comment from the National Treasury Employees Union.

The conservative blogosphere is up in arms over what appears to be a smoking gun in the Internal Revenue Service scandal.

[POLL: Scandals Not Sticking to Obama]

The American Spectator is reporting that President Barack Obama met with the president of the IRS union a day before the tax agency began targeting tea party groups, citing a meeting between National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley and Obama on March 31, 2010 listed in the White House visitor log.

A team of specialists was formed to look at political cases of tax-exempt groups in April 2010, according to the Treasury Department's inspector general report on the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

The timing appears fishy, but a closer examination of Kelley's visit reveals she was visiting the White House to participate in the "Workplace Flexibility Forum," a March 2010 event that was about the state of flexible work arrangements. According to a April 2010 story in the federal trade worker publication FCW, Kelley spoke at the forum about the benefits of teleworking and other flexible work schedules. FCW reported that the event was hosted by Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The visitor log also notes that Kelley's visit took place in the "South Court Auditorium," a large room in the Old Executive Office Building across from the White House - not exactly a prime location for a private meeting.

[READ: IRS Targeting Scandal Rooted in Campaign-Finance Politics]

Kelley's office didn't immediately respond to request for more information about her March 2010 appearance, but we will update when we hear back.

UPDATED 5/20/13, 2:10 p.m.:

National Treasury Employees Union spokeswoman Dina Long tells Whispers that Kelley never met privately with Obama.

“Kelley attended the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility at the Old Executive Office Building… [which] was attended by approximately 200 attendees including business leaders, workers, policy experts and labor representatives discussing telework and worklife balance issues,” Long said in a statement. “The president made opening remarks. President Kelley did not have any direct contact with the president or the first lady.”


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