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IRS Official Cancels WNEU Graduation Speech


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — An IRS employee will not be speaking at Western New England University’s School of Law graduation as scheduled.

The Justice Department is currently investigating the IRS after the agency acknowledged that agents had singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner is the Director of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations Division which is of course at the center of this whole controversy.

The school says it was Lerner’s decision to cancel Saturday’s speech.

“As we’ve been watching the news unfold, we’re not terribly surprised that this came about. It was her decision every moment to make. When we spoke with her and she made that decision, we were grateful actually, she was doing this out of concern for the students,” explains Barbara Moffat, a Representative with WNEU.

In a statement to the University, Lerner cited her wish to have the ceremony focus on a celebration of the achievements of the graduates.

WNEU has decided to forgo a commencement speaker saying there will be plenty of other speakers at the event.

The school was planning on bestowing Lerner with the President’s Medallion Award which is given in person to individuals that distinguish themselves in a particular field or endeavor.  However, WNEU reports they are not sure if they will end up giving this to her.

Representative Dave Stawasz told ABC40, “We haven’t addressed if we will award her the President’s Medallion at a later date.  We’ll address this after commencement ends.”

Earlier this evening President Barack Obama announced that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, handed in his resignation because Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requested it as the investigation continues.

The school will hold its 2013 Commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m. at Symphony Hall in downtown Springfield.


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