IRS Commissioner Resigns Amidst Targeting Scandal

The acting IRS commissioner is out of a job.

Minutes ago, President Obama announced that Steven Miller has resigned as boss of the Internal Revenue Service given the cloud over the agency from the Tea Party targeting scandal.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asked for Miller’s resignation which sounds like he was fired. Miller was “acting” in that he had not been confirmed by the US Senate.

Apparently Miller, a career IRS employee, had tried to pin the blame for the entire politically driven practice on two so-called rogue agents in the IRS Cincinnati office but that seemingly didn’t fly given the scope of the scandal and the misconduct involved. Miller reportedly was aware of the heavy scrutiny and application slow-down for Tea Party and other politically conservative groups in May 2012 but didn’t fully come clean with Congress: “On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before a House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee, but he did not mention the agency’s heightened scrutiny for the applications of conservative groups. After learning of the controversial IRS practice, he also wrote at least two letters to Congress explaining the process for reviewing tax-exempt status applications; in neither of those letters did he mention the targeting.” Miller had taken over for Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee who left office in November.

Last Friday, the IRS admitted is was subjecting Tea Party and other groups to heavy and unconstitutional scrutiny — including intrusive demands for information — when they applied for tax-exempt status as so-called social welfare organizations. Some of these groups have been waiting up to three years for IRS approval. The IRS did not flag left-of-center groups who applied for the same 501(c)(4) non-profit status, however.

In announcing Miller’s resignation, the president said “I’ll do everything I can to make sure something like this never happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable. By putting in place new checks and safeguards. And going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be in a fair and impartial way.”

The IRS is also set to gain access to massive amounts of personal health information under Obamacare.

In a just-released report, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General maintained that ineffective IRS management allowed agents to use inappropriate criteria to screen conservative groups.

In an email to IRS staff, Miller wrote that “it is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June. 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.”

The IRS is now being investigated by the FBI and Congressional committees.

[Top image via Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com]