Obama fires IRS Acting Commissioner
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The first head has rolled in the wake of the Internal Revenue Service's mishandling of applications by conservative groups for tax-exempt status.
IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller was asked to submit his resignation. He did.
Yes, folks, that's how people are fired in Washington, D.C.
President Obama announced Miller's departure in a brief public statement late this afternoon regarding the IRS' overzealous review of Tea Party and similar groups' applications for 510(c)(4) tax-exempt status.
The change at the top of the IRS is necessary, said Obama, because "it's important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward."
He did not announce who would take Miller's spot as the search for a full-time IRS commissioner continues.
Three point plan to clean up IRS: Obama also reiterated his anger at the IRS' questionable actions.
"I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS given the reach it has in all of our lives," said the president. "The IRS has to operate with absolute integrity."
Obama again called the incident an outrage, but noted that "the good news is it's fixable."
To achieve that fix, he set out a three-point to-do list.
1. Fire the IRS chief. Check.
2. Implement safeguards so that such politicization or any appearance of it never happens again. Obama said he has instructed Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to follow-up on the TIGTA report and ensure that all its recommendations are put in place.
We can count this one as a partial check, since the IRS already agreed with seven of TIGTA's nine correction points.
3. Finally, and this is the sticky one, Obama said his administration will work with Congress as it performs its IRS oversight role so that "it doesn't smack of politics or political agendas."
That noise you hear is the break pedal being slammed through the floorboard.
I agree with Obama that "it's in everyone's best interest to work together to fix" problems at the IRS.
I don't, however, share his belief that members of Congress -- and by members of Congress, I mean the Republicans in the House -- are willing to work with this president, even on something as important as making sure our tax collection agency works as it should.
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