Internal Revenue Service head ousted over findings of political targeting
MOSCOW, May 17 (RAPSI) – America’s top tax official Steven Miller has been ousted amidst the growing controversy surrounding findings that federal tax authorities has selectively reviewed applications for tax-exempt status based on their names and policy goals, according to statements released by the White House and the US Treasury Department Wednesday.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report Tuesday establishing its finding that the IRS had used “inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”
According to the report, ineffective management had let do the development of inappropriate criteria that remained in place for upwards of 18 months. These criteria significantly delayed the processing of certain applications, and fostered the issuance of unnecessary information requests.
Speaking on the matter Wednesday, US President Barrack Obama expressed disdain for the conduct. In his words: “I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.”
According to the report, organizations targeted included those whose names included “Tea Party,” “9/12 Project,” or “Patriots.” A variety of policy positions were included among the IRS’ list of criteria as well, including: issues involving government spending, debt, and taxes; aims to “make America a better place to live in,” and statements critical of how the US is being run.
Notably, the names are all associated with conservative political movements.
To this point, Obama urged: “it should not matter what political stripe you’re from -- the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS.”
He added that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to get to the bottom of the scandal, establishing what went wrong and in whose hands. On Wednesday, Lew kicked off the process by requesting and accepting the resignation of then-acting commissioner of the IRS Miller.
Speaking shortly after the president Wednesday, Lew confirmed the move, explaining: “After reading the Inspector General’s report issued yesterday, it became clear that the IRS needs new leadership to restore public trust and confidence in the Agency… Today, in order to begin the process of restoring trust in the IRS, I requested and accepted the resignation of the Acting Commissioner.”
On Thursday, Lew announced that Danny Werfel would take over as Acting Commissioner of the IRS.
US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had launched a criminal investigation into the IRS affair, according to widespread media reports.