Second IRS official resigns after scandal

USA Today – by Aamer Madhani and Gregory Korte

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Thursday he is naming a trusted White House budget official, Daniel Werfel, to serve as his new acting IRS commissioner.

The appointment of Werfel comes as a second top IRS official announced Thursday that he is stepping down in the aftermath of revelations that the agency targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.  

Joseph Grant, commissioner of the agency’s tax exempt and government entities division, will retire on June 3, according to an IRS statement. Grant joined the IRS in August 2005 and became the deputy commissioner of the tax exempt division in 2007. He became the second senior IRS official in as many days to offer his resignation.

Grant had only be elevated to the position of commissioner of the division last week — two days before the agency confirmed the targeting of Tea Party groups and conservative organizations applying for tax exempt status.

Meanwhile, Obama announced that the controller of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Werfel, will move into the job of acting IRS commissioner next week, replacing Steven Miller.

“Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Obama said in a statement. “The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”

Obama announced Wednesday that he’d accepted Miller’s resignation, saying the agency needed a change in leadership.

Miller will face questions Friday when he appears before the House Ways and Means Committee, where lawmakers plan to ask him why he didn’t inform Congress about the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups last year — even under direct questioning.

Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said Thursday “it seems pretty clear that he was aware of this ongoing targeting. And he didn’t tell Congress.”

And Camp said the inquiries won’t stop with Tea Party groups, whose applications for tax-exempt status were delayed simply by virtue of their group name. Camp also wants to know if pro-Israel groups and individual donors to conservative causes were also targeted for invasive questioning and audits.

Werfel, 42, will start the job Wednesday and has agreed to serve in the position through September.

Werfel, who is known around the White House as Danny, will lead the IRS efforts to restore its reputation that has taken a beaten since it was made public that the organization was targeting conservative groups.

He has served in a number of other positions at OMB, including deputy controller, chief of financial integrity and as a policy analyst. He also served during the George W. Bush administration as a member of the Federal Accounting and Standards Advisory Board.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who has known Werfel for more than 15 years, said Werfel has the makeup to help the agency get through a difficult period.

“He is an immensely talented and dedicated public servant who has ably served presidents of both parties. Danny has a strong record of raising his hand for — and excelling at — tough management assignments,” Lew said in a statement.

Separately, Obama on Thursday dismissed the idea of appointing a special counsel to investigate the IRS scandal. He noted that the Treasury Department’s inspector general is expected to recommend an investigation and the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation. The Senate Finance Committee is also launching an investigation into the IRS’ actions.

“Between those investigations, I think we’re going to be able to figure out exactly what happened, who was involved, what went wrong, and we’re going to be able to implement steps to fix it,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

3 thoughts on “Second IRS official resigns after scandal

  1. Yes we have seen this before. The ones who resign will be rewarded for shielding their master from the scandal. The master will go right on doing to us what his majesty wants.

  2. Its all a game…..
    Its all BS.
    OBummer needs to step OUT.
    IRS needs to be permanently dismembered.
    Prosecute THOSE crimes, and leave we, the people, alone.

  3. “I’m melting….melting…..melting”. Obama is done….cooked….stick a fork in him, he’s DONE!!!!

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