Obama Administration Sacks IRS Chief After Targeting Scandal

May 15, 2013 2:25 pm

President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested and accepted the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, following the agency’s admission that agents improperly singled out conservative non-profits for additional reviews during the 2012 election.

“I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS,” Obama said at the White House. “Given the power that it has, and the reach that it has in all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you’re from, the fact of the matter is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.”

Obama also said that his administration will implement new procedures to ensure the same kind of misconduct does not occur again, inviting lawmakers to assist in the effort.

“I’ve directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the [Inspector General’s] recommendations right away,” Obama said. “We will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role.”

An internal Treasury Department report conducted by the Inspector General’s office found that ineffective management at the agency allowed employees to inappropriately single out conservative non-profit groups for additional reviews during in the run up to the 2012 election, focusing on such key words as “Tea Party,” ”Patriots” or “9/12 Project” in their applications.

In a resignation letter obtained by CNN, Miller said that he would not be leaving the agency immediately in order to facilitate a transition.

“It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June,” Miller wrote. “This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency. I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period. As I wrap up my time at the IRS, I will be focused on an orderly transition.”

Watch Obama’s remarks below: 

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