President Obama today appointed Office of Management and Budget official Danny Werfel to serve as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Werfel, 42, replaces Steven Miller, who was asked to resign Wednesday in the wake of revelations that IRS employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups.
“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.
Werfel, who is controller of the OMB, is responsible for straightening up financial management in government agencies and will start at the IRS May 22, and has agreed to serve in the temporary position until Oct. 1.
On Thursday, a second IRS official announced that he would be leaving the agency in the wake of the scandal. Joseph Grant, who only recently became Commissioner of Tax Exempt Organizations and Government Entities a week ago, will retire on June 3. Before that, Grant was deputy commissioner of the scandal-plagued unit.
The IRS shuffle comes after Obama said earlier that there is no need for a special counsel toinvestigate the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
Obama said “We will be putting in new leadership that will be able to make sure that — following up on the [inspector general’s] audit — that we’re gathering up all the facts, that we hold accountable those who had taken these unacceptable actions.”
“I think that it’s going to be sufficient for us to be working with Congress. They’ve got a whole bunch of committees; we’ve got IGs already there,” he added.
Obama said the inspector general has recommended an investigation after releasing its own report on the agency’s actions this week. Also, Attorney General Eric Holder has launched an FBI inquiry into whether any criminal laws were broken at the IRS.
Obama reiterated that no one in his administration told him about the inspector general’s IRS investigation before he read about it in media reports, but it remains to be seen if there will be any further fall out from this episode of ineptitude.
The President has limited power over the IRS; the agency only has two political appointees.
Werfel, like his predecessor, takes over the position at a trying time with many issues needing addressing. He has Obama’s vote of confidence, but Werfel will be working under what is sure to be intense scrutiny up to his current October 1 deadline; if he is up to the task then he will be the “lucky” one who will head the IRS for the foreseeable future.
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