Obama Announces IRS Commissioner's Resignation As Scandal Simmers

on May 15 2013 6:54 PM
  • Internal Revenue Service
    The Internal Revenue Service building. Reuters
  • Obama
    President Obama will be giving a broad overview of his counterterrorism policy this Thursday, according to an unnamed White House official. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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As the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service's admitted targeting of conservative groups continued to grip Washington Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama announced that acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller had stepped down from the post.

"[Treasury] Secretary [Jacob] Lew took the first step of requesting and accepting the resignation of [Miller]," Obama said in a brief address from the White House, which is attempting to contain the fallout from a trifecta of controversies: the IRS scandal, the ongoing fallout over how officials handled the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Lybia, and the revelation that the Justice Department had obtained Associated Press phone records.

Obama did not address the other two topics in his Wednesday remarks, but he offered strong words about the ongoing scandal.

"It's inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," he said in the East Room of the White House. "I will not tolerate this type of behavior at any agency, and especially not at the IRS given the power that it has."

But he said that his administration is taking three major steps to address the IRS scandal and ensure that it will not be repeated.

First was the ouster of Miller, second was implementing the suggestions made in an Inspector General's report about the occurances at the IRS, and third is working "with Congress as it performs its oversight role."

Obama seemed optimistic that the IRS -- which admitted last week that it had targeted groups with "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names for added scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status -- would be able to avoid repeating the behavior.

"The good news is it's fixable," he said. "I'll do everything in my power to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."

He went on to say that there may be some tweaking of laws needed in order to prevent another scandal at the IRS.

"We're going to have to make sure that the laws are clear so that we can have confidence that they are being enforced in a fair [manner]," Obama said.

Miller began his short tenure as acting commissioner of the IRS on Nov. 10.

 

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