White House announces new IRS leadership
WASHINGTON – Continuing to move quickly to try to put the IRS controversy behind him, President Obama named a new acting commissioner Thursday to replace the one he ousted the day before.
Daniel Werfel, current controller of the Office of Management and Budget, will replace Steven Miller, who has been the acting commissioner since November 2012. Miller came under fire for his role in the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative advocacy groups.
“The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time,” Obama said in a statement.
The change of leadership at the embattled IRS, which will take effect Wednesday, comes as the agency faces continued criticism for screening practices adopted by staff members in Cincinnati, who were giving added scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status that contained words such as “tea party” or other indications of a conservative slant. Top IRS officials, including Miller, have been accused of misleading congressional committees that were investigating complaints about the practice.
Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed outrage, with Obama calling the actions “inexcusable” and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) going so far as to ask, “Who’s going to jail?”
Werfel has served as controller of the OMB since late 2009 and will immediately be faced with the task of salvaging the tax agency’s plummeting reputation.
“I have known Danny Werfel for more than 15 years. He is an immensely talented and dedicated public servant who has ably served presidents of both parties,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement. “Danny has a strong record of raising his hand for -- and excelling at -- tough management assignments.”
Miller, whose resignation was announced by Obama on Wednesday evening, will take part in the first of many congressional hearings looking into the scandal Friday. He told IRS staff that he would remain at the IRS until early June.
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