The Obama administration has forced out the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, in the uproar over the extra scrutiny of tea party and other right-wing groups seeking to become tax-exempt. The IRS singled out organizations with the terms "tea party" or "patriots" in their names while investigating who qualifies as social welfare organizations under U.S. tax law. At the White House, President Obama vowed to punish those responsible.
President Obama: "It is inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives. Today, Secretary [Jack] Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS because given the controversy surrounding this audit it is important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward."
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The IRS turned to the controversial vetting process after becoming flooded with applications for tax-exempt status in the aftermath of the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United. Groups such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS claimed to be social welfare organizations while spending tens of millions of dollars on political operations.