President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he was "angry" at IRS officials who inappropriately targeted conservative groups for scrutiny, announcing that his administration had sought and accepted Steven Miller's resignation as interim commissioner of the IRS.
"I've reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog's report, and the misconduct that it uncovered was inexcusable," Obama said in a statement at the White House. "It's inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I'm angry about it."
The president said that he expected the IRS to act with even higher levels of integrity than other government agencies and that, to that end, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had sought and accepted Miller's resignation — something many Republicans had demanded.
Obama also pledged to work with Congress in its emerging investigation into the controversy, pledging his administration would work "hand in hand with Congress" to further its oversight. But the president also cautioned lawmakers to conduct their probe "in a way that doesn't smack of politics or partisan agendas."
"If the President is as concerned about this issue as he claims, he'll work openly and transparently with Congress to get to the bottom of the scandal — no stonewalling, no half-answers, no withholding of witnesses," the top Republican senator, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, said in a statement.
The president said as well that he thought the problems at the IRS were "fixable," and he directed Lew to implement the IRS inspector general's recommendations.
Lew said in a statement that it was "clear that the IRS needs new leadership to restore public trust and confidence."
"As the president noted, this type of misconduct at any agency, but especially the IRS, is inexcusable and unacceptable. And I will not tolerate it," he said.In an internal email to employees, Miller said he would be staying on until early June to help with an orderly transition.
Obama's remarks came amid news that two IRS employees who had engaged in activities targeting conservative groups had faced disciplinary action for their conduct.
The inspector general's release Monday found that incompetence and ineffective management at the tax-collecting agency led to employees' applying extra scrutiny to conservative and Tea Party advocacy groups. The report also found there was no evidence of outside pressure on officials to target conservative groups.
Still, the revelation has prompted an uproar among Republicans, who have openly suggested that the Obama administration might have used the IRS to target its political opponents.
"My question isn't about who's going to resign," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a weekly press conference on Capitol Hill. "My question is who's going to jail in this scandal."
Democrats have largely joined their Republican colleagues in expressing outrage toward the IRS employees' actions, and Obama himself condemned the agency Monday, calling the targeting of conservative groups "outrageous" and vowing to hold those responsible accountable.
"I'll do everything in my power to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and, going forward, my making sure the law is applied as it should be — in a fair and impartial way," Obama said.
He is doing all the right things but will it "end" the media drumbeat of "Obama's worst week ever"?
IRS chief was going to resign anyway.
I thought a dubya appointee was still running the IRS when this happened. Why is this guy taking the fall for it?
I'm glad he's doing this--he's taking the media a bit offguard by acting very quickly and decisively with all this, so i think this will work to his advantage.
r3 because he's the one that went before Congress awhile ago and told them all is fine even though he had knowledge of what the IRS was doing.
If any group SHOULD be targeted, it's the corrupt Koch-billionaire-funded fraudulent virulently rightwing Tea "Party." It's a political lobbying group, completely unworthy of not-for-profit status.
What the Democrats should be pointing out is that he was an ACTING director. Well, why was that? Could it be that someone in the senate blocked hearings or voting on a permanent director? And just why has the ATF gone without a permanent director for six years? Six years?!?! How many positions are unfilled because of obstructionism? How badly does that affect the smooth running of government?
exactly r6. The real scandal is that so many political groups are applying for exemption as "social welfare."
Was the IRS not accepting Right wing groups' applications, or...? What exactly is alleged that they were doing? I keep hearing all different things.
The IRS was approving all the D/liberal apps within record time, say 3 weeks (one place did a test case of this) and yet the conservative/R/sm gov't places - many of them are still not approved, and many of them got investigated or audited. Including those people that interviewed the Pres and then got an audit (the journo said they were not in favor of BO's policies).
The fact that the TeaParty's tax-exempt status WASN'T revoked is the real scandal here.
R10 is a moron.
I still can't figure out what the IRS did wrong. Other than not investigating MORE of these obviously partisan political organizations masquerading as "charities", and stripping them of their tax-exempt status.
This sounds like a manufactured tempest-in-a-tea-cup... especially given it's coming from the party who targeted ACORN, the NAACP, and liberal churches who dared to speak out against Bush's wars...
[quote]The IRS was approving all the D/liberal apps within record time, say 3 weeks (one place did a test case of this) and yet the conservative/R/sm gov't places - many of them are still not approved, and many of them got investigated or audited.
What color is the sky on your planet?
Here on Planet Earth, the sky is blue, and the Tea Party applications have all been approved. There was one application for a liberal group that was rejected.
Smarter trolls, please.
r13, then what was done allegedly wrong if they were all approved?
You pathetic queens can't spin this. It's bad regardless of who's leading it.
[quote]then what was done allegedly wrong if they were all approved?
The applications were QUESTIONED. They had to supply additional information, which delayed approval.
Really, that's what has the wingnut's panties in a bunch.
Why isn't the lamestream media mentioning that none of the Tea Party groups were denied the exemption, whereas a progressive group called Emerge Progressive was denied exemption? There were progressive groups who were also under extensive questioning.
Keep fucking that chicken, R15.
At least r12 admits to being a moron.
Obama through him under the bus and as usual claims no knowledge, when he instructed the IRS to take this action against anyone who opposes him.
"The IRS 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."
OK, I'm trying to understand this. I am completely in agreement that any group with suggested political affiliation should have been treated like any other group with suggested political affiliation.
However, I'm trying hard to understand why any group which smacked of partisanship based on its name or policy position of partisanship - irrespective of political creed - shouldn't have been held up to scrutiny. And I am finding it hard to understand why any group which identified itself by name or policy position with the Tea Party wouldn't qualify for that kind of scrutiny to make sure it was actually a social welfare organization.
Could it be that perhaps these particular IRS workers weren't wrong in subjecting these groups to the scrutiny they received? But rather that the mistake was their giving a free pass to groups who appeared to hold opposite political views? Is that what the issue is?
Learn how to write in English R20, and perhaps we'll listen to your pathetic spin.
Obama's Policy. If you don't like what reporters write, bug their phones. When voters and organizations disagree with you, have IRS audit them. Always claim you didn't know about the situations until the information was revealed to the public.
[quote]Obama through him under the bus
This IRS kerfuffle is in no way connected to the White House and the President. Freeper shitstains can yammer all they want to, there is nothing in it that will hurt the President.
Here is Peggy Noonan's new tweet:
Peggy Noonan @Peggynoonannyc
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate.
R23 is a babbling moron who doesn't know what he's talking about but loves to make up conspiracy shit.
Any idiot who imagines this small-time nonsense is "like Watergate" or "the worst scandal since Watergate" a) knows nothing about Watergate, and b) has obviously forgotten Iran/Contra and Iraq/WMDs.
Peggy Noonan and her pals should lay off the sauce.
I'm so sure you would have said that about the Bush administration, r25.
And wonder boy Nate Silver thinks
it could hurt come the 2014 elections....
which, of course, indirectly hurts Obama.
How could you possibly know that? The Justice Department investigation has just begun.
Did find it interesting that Bill Press, radio talker, has called for the head of Eric Holder due to the AP operation.
r32 & Chris Matthews has already stated the the President knows about all of this & "there's no way he could not have known".
D's are jumping ship.
Harry Reid and certain Obama campaign officials seemed to have access to confidential IRS information.
Am I the only one who thinks it's reasonable for the IRS to scrutinize an anti-IRS group?
Also, did any of the Tea Party applicants get denied their tax exempt status as a result?
r25 Judge Judy said kerfuffle the other day. Must've gone over the heads of 99% of the viewers.
r35 look up the word "vindictive" & google "Richard Nixon IRS" because Nixon did the same thing.
Sicking the IRS on your enemies? Having an enemies list? Does this sound familiar to you?
This is as big as Nipplegate!
Will Obama be impeached?
Out of all of the scandals this guy is responsible for why all the sudden is he trying to get in front of the train on this?
Methinks he doth protest to much.