Obama names new IRS commissioner
President Barack Obama named Danny Werfel, an official in his budget office, as the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the White House announced Thursday.
Obama demanded the previous acting commissioner resign Wednesday after revelations the tax agency was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups asking the government for tax exempt status.
Werfel, who serves as the controller of the Office of Management and Budget, will “lead efforts to ensure the IRS implements new safeguards to restore public trust and administers the tax code with fairness and integrity,” the White House said.
He’ll serve through the end of the fiscal year, and since he’s being tapped to become acting commissioner won’t be subject to Senate confirmation.
“Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Obama wrote 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.”
At the White House budget office, Werfel, 42, was responsible for enacting programs designed to enhance the federal government’s integrity in financial management, reporting and accounting. He also helped Obama’s administration implement and manage the forced spending cuts that went into effect March 1.
Previously he served in other roles at the OMB, and also acted as an attorney in the civil rights division of the Department of Justice.
He has a law degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a master’s in public policy from Duke, the White House said, and received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell.
He’ll join the IRS as the tax agency weathers its largest scandal in years. Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, have called for criminal charges against those employees responsible for the targeting of conservative groups, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into the matter.
Obama again expressed outrage at the IRS’s practices at a press conference Thursday.
“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 gather up all the facts, that we hold accountable those who have taken these outrageous actions,” Obama said. “As I said last night, it is just simply unacceptable for there to be even a hint of partisanship or ideology when it comes to the application of our tax laws.”
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