White House Aide Tapped as IRS Chief

From Associated Press

President Bush has chosen aide Mark Everson to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, tapping a top manager from within the White House to head the nation's tax-collection agency.

Everson is a deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. During President Reagan's administration, Everson served in the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Justice Department and the U.S. Information Agency.

The IRS nomination requires Senate approval.

Charles Rossotti, the previous commissioner, decided not to seek a second five-year term and left his post in November.

Everson "has worked on government-wide financial management and technology issues and is well-qualified to take over management of the Internal Revenue Service," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Monday.

In addition to his government jobs, Everson was an executive of in-flight catering firm LSG Sky Chefs, which has corporate offices in Arlington, Texas, and from 1988 to 1998 was with aluminum producer Pechiney Group.

He holds a master's degree in accounting from New York University.

He and his wife, Nanette, gave the maximum allowable donations to Bush in his 2000 presidential campaign, $4,000 between them. Nanette Everson is a White House lawyer.

Advocates for taxpayers Monday were trying to discern what Everson's nomination might mean for the IRS.

Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union, said that, "In tax policy circles, we can't say we've heard anything about him."

Fleischer said, "The position of IRS commissioner is not a tax-policy position; it really is a management position."

Everson, he said, has significant experience in two crucial areas for the IRS -- financial management and technology issues. His expertise suggests that the White House is looking to make the IRS run more efficiently.

Sepp said he was encouraged by Everson's management experience. Although IRS commissioners often come from within the agency, Sepp said that pattern was not necessarily healthy. "That has rarely worked out well for taxpayers," he said.

Rossotti, the last commissioner, came from the private sector. He was the founder of American Management Systems Inc., a computer services company in Fairfax, Va.

Rossotti oversaw the start of a restructuring at the IRS after Congress found that the agency's computer systems were inadequate.

Everson should focus on further advances in tax simplification and taxpayers' rights, Sepp said.

Bush tapped Clay Johnson, the White House personnel director, to replace Everson at the OMB.

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