The Intenral Revenue Service finally has an official, full-time commissioner.
John A. Koskinen, a former chairman of U.S.-owned mortgage financier Freddie Mac with no experience in tax administration, was confirmed today, Dec. 20, by a 59-36 Senate vote. Koskinen got all the Democrats' votes, as well as votes from five Republicans.
Yes, that is Danny Werfel you hear cheering.
Koskinen will be the 48th IRS Commissioner since the post was created in 1862 and is the first Senate-confirmed tax agency chief since Douglas Shulman's term ended in November 2012. There also have been 26 acting commissioners, according to the IRS website.
After the vote, President Obama, who nominated Koskinen for the IRS job on Aug. 2, issued the following statement:
I applaud the bipartisan majority of Senators who today confirmed John Koskinen as the next commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. John has decades of private and public-sector experience, and he has led institutions in challenging times. Throughout his career, John has always acted with the absolute integrity Americans demand from those in public service, and his strong leadership and unquestioned expertise make him the right person to lead the IRS. I want to thank Daniel Werfel for his outstanding service as principal deputy commissioner of the IRS, and I look forward to working with John as he takes on this new role.
The 74-year-old Koskinen, who also served in the Clinton Administration during the Y2K scare, told the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month at his confirmation hearing that he wants to rehabilitate the IRS. The beleaguered agency is still facing Congressional inquiries into its apparently selective scrutiny of conservative nonprofit groups, such as those affiliated with the Tea Party, who sought 501(c)(4) nonprofit status.
"In every area of the IRS, taxpayers need to be confident that they will be treated fairly, no matter what their background or their affiliations," he told the Finance Committee members. "Public trust is the IRS' most important and valuable asset."
In addition to his posts with Freddie Mac, Koskinen also has served as city administrator of Washington, as well as president of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. He was chairman of the board of trustees at Duke University in Durham, N.C., which named its soccer and lacrosse stadium for him.
You also might find these items of interest: