Obama Appoints New Acting IRS Head; NAACP Leader Calls Tea Party Scrutiny “Legitimate”
In the midst of a firestorm over the IRS’ admitted scrutiny of conservative organizations, President Obama dismissed the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, and today appointed a new acting commissioner, Daniel Werfel. Steven Miller knew that the IRS had been asking Tea Party organizations for more information before giving them tax-exempt status, says The New York Times. Miller will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday and will step down from his post next month.
Werfel will take the position on May 22.
Attorney General Eric Holder has promised to pursue anyone in the agency that gives false statements on the issue. Moreover, he says there will be an investigation into whether anyone’s civil rights were violated by the IRS’ actions.
“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 I.R.S., Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time,” President Obama said in a statement released today. Werfel’s job will be to make sure the government adheres to the restrictions of the sequestration.
Conservatives and the media have been up in arms over the IRS scandal, with IRS trending on Twitter for at least the past two days.
Coupled with controversy over the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP journalist’s phone records and the ongoing investigation into the attack in Benghazi, it’s been a tough few days for the administration.
Meanwhile this week, Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, said he and his group faced increased IRS attention in 2004 when he made a speech critical of then President George W. Bush. He argues that the NAACP does actually get out the vote. He says the attention that the IRS paid to Tea Party organizations was “legitimate” because this is a “group of people who are admittedly racist.” Mediaite has the clip, which is also available below.
Have you been paying attention to this controversy? And do you agree with Bond?