Acting IRS Head Steven Miller to Resign, Says Obama

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Acting IRS head Stephen Miller resigns, Obama says
AP Photo/Al BehrmanThe John Weld Peck federal building in Cincinnati houses the main offices for the Internal Revenue Service in the city.
Addressing the controversy over the Internal Revenue Service's treatment of conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status, President Obama said that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had requested and received the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller.

"I am angry about it," Obama said. He had previously called the accusations "outrageous."

According to CNN, Miller was told of the IRS's targeting of Tea Party groups on May 3, 2012, but did not disclose it to Congress. He will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday, and step down from his position at the IRS in early June.

"The president set exactly the right tone," said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), appearing on the cable news network. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and frequently a thorn in the administration's side, added that removing an official who had mislead Congress and made false statements was a good first step towards addressing the scandal.

Although the president spoke of Miller's resigning, the acting commissioner's internal message to IRS employees begins, "It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June." Miller acknowledged "an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days," and wrote that his focus will be on ensuring "an orderly transition." He has worked at the IRS for 25 years.

According to the Associated Press, "IRS agents begin giving extra attention to tax-exempt applications from groups associated with the tea party or with a political sounding agenda in their names, such as 'Patriots,' ''Take Back the Country' or 'We the People'" in March and April 2010. A "BOLO" ("Be on the Lookout") listing was issued for "various various local organizations in the Tea Party movement" that August.

In June 2011, lawmakers began to send letters to the IRS inquiring about the agency's handling of such groups' applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS official in charge of overseeing tax-exempt organizations was briefed about the special focus on Tea Party groups, and told agents to change their procedures, but she didn't mention the targeting when testifying before Congress six months later.

Here's the AP's summary of subsequent events:

2012:

January: The criteria for screening, altered after Lerner's staff meeting six months earlier, is modified again. Now the IRS is on the lookout for references to the Constitution or Bill of Rights in the materials of organizations seeking tax-exempt status, for "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government," and more.

March 22: IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman tells Congress there is "absolutely no targeting" of groups based on their political views.

May: Lerner does not divulge the flagging in 45-page letters to two lawmakers inquiring about the issue.

May 3: Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller is told by staff that that applications for tax-exempt status by tea party groups were inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny, according to the agency. (Miller now is acting commissioner.)

June 15: Miller responds to a letter from Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., who had raised concerns about possible harassment of tea party groups by the IRS. Miller does not concede conservatives had been singled out. He says generally that the IRS is seeing more tax-exempt applications from politically active groups and taking steps to "coordinate the handling of the case to ensure consistency."

July 25: Miller testifies to the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee but does not divulge what he was told in May about the screening of tea party groups.

Sept. 11: Millers writes a letter responding to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee but again does not own up to the scrutiny conservatives were placed under. Hatch had written three times to the IRS about the complaints.

Nov. 6: The presidential and congressional elections.

Nov. 15: Lerner and others from the IRS meet Ways and Means staff but again do not acknowledge the targeting.

___

2013:

Week of April 22: White House counsel learns that the inspector general is finishing a report about the IRS office in Cincinnati, which handles tax-exempt applications, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

May 10: Lerner apologizes on behalf of the IRS for "inappropriate" targeting of conservatives; White House counsel is said to receive inspector general's report; President Barack Obama is said to have heard of the matter for the first time. Lerner says no high-level officials were aware of the targeting, a statement seemingly at odds with the timeline of events, and blamed low-level employees in Cincinnati.

May 13: Obama says if the IRS intentionally went after conservatives, that's "outrageous." The Democratic-controlled Senate Finance Committee joins Republican-led House committees in planning fresh investigations of the matter.

May 14: Miller says his agency demonstrated "a lack of sensitivity" in trying to figure out whether organizations claiming a tax exemption met the standard for it. The Justice Department says it will conduct a criminal investigation, the inspector general's report is released, and Obama calls the findings "intolerable and inexcusable."

May 15: In congressional testimony, Attorney General Eric Holder says the FBI's investigation could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities.

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67 Comments

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keneelou

My Mom told me long ago that the best test for cleaning out a fridge is this...if it smells funny, throw it out.

May 16 2013 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mpusairsret

Congress needs to look at this from the bottom up. The rank-n-file at the IRS like most employees follow orders. Determine what examiner/s were assignment to those cases, and look at the case files. Who was the manager/s of these employees and what direction was given and by whom? Who was the director of these managers and what direction was given to these managers?
Keep in mind that those at the Commissioner level are always polictial appointees.

May 16 2013 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marvin

He was about to resign anyway.. we are becoming a banana republic.

May 16 2013 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob & the Queen

One more note, don't you all wonder how Harry Reid knew so much about Mitt Romney's taxes? He just kept pounding away at him. Did he already have the information in advance? There was also a few political advertisements about Romney's taxes, right from the democratic party. I do believe that POTUS knew about the IRS. Bengazi and the AP phone records. For what some people (not me) call Obama the smartest guy, he sure has a memory problem. Maybe he caught it from Hillary.

May 16 2013 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob & the Queen

This to me is just one big joke to Obama. This guy was leaving anyway in two weeks. He had nothing to do with the IRS scandal as it started in 2010. Does Obama think we are idiots. He needed a fall guy, So he gets the guy that was going his own way in two weeks. What a crock.

May 16 2013 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
debo1411

It appears that Obama is clueless about almost everything. "duh, I didn't know until I heard it on the news, duh"

May 16 2013 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to debo1411's comment
ralonne

Why would he? He's not responsible for running the IRS - the Treasury Dept is. Just like you're not responsible for what happens at the company for which you work, so how could YOU be expected to know everything that's going on there? Educate yourself, bircher and stop with the bullsh** rhetoric. It demeans you.

May 16 2013 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert

why wait till early june show him the door with an escort.......

May 16 2013 at 8:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Brutal

Obama's campaign promises were all lies ... he has lied about everything and will continue to do so. In the big picture, Barry is the bad guy. Smart people knew this from the get-go and tried to tell you this guy was bad news but it all fell on deaf ears. The Democrats will crash and burn in the 2014 Midterms and it will be the Republicans turn to try and get it right. Lesson learned: Smooth talking cool guys can't be trusted as much as the old white guys ... LOL! Of course, most of black America, the Hispanic community, America's youth, and Democrats and Liberals in general will remain in denial that Barry is a skunk. That's to be the expected ... but hopefully next time those who fell for the imposter will be a little wiser.

May 16 2013 at 8:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Winnie

Paid to resign and keep his mouth shut. Just like the rest.

May 16 2013 at 8:15 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Winnie's comment
jonieweaver

amen for that

May 16 2013 at 8:18 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
vietnamvet1967

Another Joke by Obama, Guess he will get a Better job somewhere else, He was thrown under the Bus, Hillary is Next

May 16 2013 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to vietnamvet1967's comment
jdhegnes

Obama already threw her under, as a partial sacrifice (excluding himself of course) to the forces of all things right, for Benghazi. Now obama is sacrificing a pawn for a queen - an acting head in exchange for the major crime he committed against the American people. And we will buy it insuring that, one more time, he will not pay personally - which reinforces the his belief that he can indescriminately break the law. The entire upper eshelon of the democratic party undoubtedly knew something of this significance was occuring. This is nothing more than a dog-and-pony show, to shift the blame far enough that it will look like his opponents are overreacting if they come after him, as they should. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of how washington functions knows that obama, clinton, biden, and company were made fully aware of this. If I were president, and someone took this major political risk, and committed a federal crime that could stick to me, without my knowlege, heads would roll within the party. But they're not - so go figure.

May 16 2013 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert

Hillary was already thrown under with Ben Gazi only Ben wont go away Ben gazi will be like herpes to Hillary

when she hurt her head , and suffers some amnesia

May 16 2013 at 9:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply