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Grassley Announces Replacement for Zerbe

April 09, 2008

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, has hired Theresa Pattara, a project manager with the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations, to advise him on tax matters relating to tax-exempt organizations, including legislation and investigations.

Pattara, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton, served on Grassley's Finance Committee staff in 2005 and 2006.

She replaces Dean A. Zerbe, who resigned his post as senior counsel to Grassley in February to become national managing director of Alliantgroup, a Houston-based tax consulting company. In his seven years as Grassley's chief investigator, Zerbe earned a reputation as a vocal critic of perceived abuses by tax-exempt organizations and was widely considered to be the "engine driving [the Finance Committee's] ambitious agenda on nonprofit issues" -- an agenda that included scrutiny of nonprofit hospitals, donor-advised funds, and college endowments.

Those who thought Grassley would turn his attention elsewhere with Zerbe's departure might want to think again. Pattara, writes Brad Wolverton in the Chronicle of Higher Education, is a "tireless investigator with strong convictions [and], like her often-quoted predecessor, likes to speak her mind."

It's an assessment seconded by Zerbe himself: "She's smarter, better, and faster than me," Zerbe told Wolverton. "Colleges and charities better pull up their socks and make sure they're doing good."

-- Mitch Nauffts

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