- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service has replaced a top lawyer in its Office of Professional Responsibility who faces losing her law license over her work on a years-old personal-injury case.

The IRS wouldn’t comment on the move, but its website shows Takisha McGee, a lawyer in the professional responsibility office, is no longer listed among the office’s top staff.

While it’s unclear whether she’s been moved to a new job or left the agency, the shakeup comes about a month after the House’s top investigator requested that Ms. McGee answer questions about her record.

The Washington Times reported in August that the D.C. Bar had accused Ms. McGee of making false statements and misappropriating client settlement funds. The investigation centered on Ms. McGee’s work on a 2008 personal-injury case, not long before she joined the IRS.

The D.C. Court of Appeals’ board on professional responsibility issued a report in December that found “clear and convincing” evidence she misappropriated client-settlement funds and provided false testimony about her work. The board recommended disbarment, but the case is still pending.

Ms. McGee acknowledged in a phone interview in August that her job as an IRS lawyer was on the line, though she said she kept her supervisors apprised of the investigation, which dates back to 2010.

“Does it keep me up worrying? Yes,” she said. “As it relates to my job, may I possibly lose it? Yes.”

But she said she was fighting the disbarment recommendation. She blamed inexperience and personal problems, calling it a “one-time mistake” that shouldn’t result in such a harsh sanction.

Ms. McGee’s case also raised questions about how the IRS‘ own staff lives up to the rules it helps enforce. The office metes out suspensions and disbarment actions against tax professionals who commit misconduct.

Reached by phone earlier this week, the director for the Office of Professional Responsibility, Karen Hawkins, declined to comment, saying personnel matters are private under agency rules.

While Ms. McGee still is licensed in Maryland, her D.C. law license was suspended in March, around the same time the IRS dispatched her to Florida to give a speech to the tax section of the Florida bar titled “When your license to practice before the IRS is on the line.”

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote Ms. McGee a letter last month calling for her to give a transcribed interview to his staff.

The letter, also signed by Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said the D.C. Bar findings raised questions about the IRS‘ “institutional commitment to ethics.”

The lawmakers also questioned whether Ms. McGee lost track of investigative records containing sensitive taxpayer information. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration had raised those concerns, according to the letter.

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