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Acting IRS chief resigns, Obama promises ‘new safeguards’

This news story was published on May 16, 2013.
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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation regarding the Internal Revenue Service after meeting with Senior Treasury Officials May 15, 2013 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.    UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation regarding the Internal Revenue Service after meeting with Senior Treasury Officials May 15, 2013 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool

WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service has resigned after “inexcusable” misconduct by some IRS personnel.

Speaking with reporters at the White House, the president said he had reviewed a Treasury Department report on “IRS personnel who improperly screened conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, “and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable.”

He said he would “do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be — in a fair and impartial way.”

“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,” he said, announcing that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and received the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller.

“And as I said earlier, 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,” Obama said.

Telling reporters he will take questions at a news conference Thursday, the president said he has directed Lew to follow up on a Treasury Department audit “to see how this happened and who is responsible, and to make sure that we understand all the facts.”

“And I’ve directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the IG’s recommendations right away,” Obama said.

The president said his administration will work with Congress “as it performs its oversight role.”

“Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to the American people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and in a way that doesn’t smack of politics or partisan agendas,” he said. “Because I think one thing that you’ve seen is, across the board, everybody believes what happened in — as reported in the IG report is an outrage. The good news is it’s fixable, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to fix it.”

Congressional Republicans demanding an investigation into the matter heard Wednesday from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, — who said he had written a letter on behalf of the San Antonio Tea Party last week complaining about the targeting — asked whether the investigation would look at IRS actions beyond the Cincinnati field office, where the alleged targeting took place.

“Yes it would,” Holder said. “It will go wherever the facts lead. … At least in the beginning, we’re basing it in Washington.”

Holder said the investigation would look at potential criminal violations of the civil rights statutes and at possible false statements to investigators.

The attorney general said he did not know yet whether any higher-ups could have been involved.

“Anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable,” Holder said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday the White House must make clear whether it played any role in the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

“What we don’t know at this point is whether it jumped the fence from the IRS to the White House,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “But we do know this: We can’t count on the administration to be forthcoming about the details of this scandal — because so far they’ve been anything but.”

He called on Obama “to make available, completely and without restriction, everyone who can answer the questions we have as to what was going on at the IRS, who knew about it, and how high it went.”

“No stonewalling, no more incomplete answers, no more misleading responses, no holding back witnesses, no matter how senior their current or former positions. We need full transparency and cooperation,” McConnell said.

“Clearly, we’ve only started to scratch the surface of this scandal,” he said.

Two Senate panels — the Finance Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations — have announced plans for investigations.

The House Ways and Means Committee scheduled the first hearing on the matter Friday, grilling acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, the committee said.

Obama said in a statement Tuesday night the findings of an inspector general’s report issued earlier in the day were “intolerable and inexcusable.”

The audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration blamed ineffective IRS management for the failure to stop employees from singling out conservative groups for added scrutiny.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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10 Responses to Acting IRS chief resigns, Obama promises ‘new safeguards’

  1. LBS Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Katie just wants to go back to the good old days…GW Bush days when all we did was start useless trillion dollar wars over lies. Ya, that’s the ticket!

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 8:20 am

    This person was due to retire in JUNE ! Someone from the IRS I beLieve her – to head OWEBAMACARE ?????

  3. Katie Reply Report comment

    May 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Obama has created a political atmosphere where his minions think it’s ok to break the law. He used illegal drugs in college and wrote about it in a book, for cripes sake. What kind of a role model is that? We have an admitted criminal as our national leader. Why would we expect anything better out of his appointees or their underlings? We had people who admitted voting for him multiple times, his crooked poll workers, a cheating general, his Attorney General who looks the other way so our government can break laws, and his taxing authority that just happens to target the President’s political enemies and organizations he dislikes but puts his brother’s illegal non-profit on a 1-month fast-track and gives him retroactive exempt status instead of fining him for collecting illegal donations for over 2 years!

    Obama is the root of all these problems because he has no moral or ethical compass. He is all about power and CYA. Even Chris Matthews has lost that tingle up his leg. The chickens are coming home to roost.

    • Kunstler's Ghost Reply Report comment

      May 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      9/11, torture, Gitmo, torture, WMD, torture, Valerie Plame, torture, yellow cake uranium, torture, Scooter Libby, torture, Iraq, torture, rendition, torture, warrantless wiretapping, torture . . . .

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 8:29 am

        @Kunstlers-What has that got to do with Obama’s Chicago style politics or him and his administration being a bunch of thugs.

    • Cast the first stone Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Katie, please find us that golden president that wasn’t guilty of something immoral or illegal. Then tell me if during his administration women were allowed to vote or own land.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        May 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

        @Cast-again, what has that got to do with Obama being a slimeball?

  4. btincc Reply Report comment

    May 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Harry Truman’s motto was “The buck stops here.” (meaning: I am ultimately responsible for what happens in my administration) This character we have for a president now sounds more like Sergeant Shultz from Hogan’s Heroes….”I know NOTHING!”

  5. !.!.! Reply Report comment

    May 16, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Now if we read that the President resigned, then we’d have some news!!