Stephen Miller, the acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, resigned on Wednesday after admitting to his knowledge of IRS employees targeting conservative groups in May. The IRS was found to have targeted groups seeking non-profit status with the terms “patriot” and “tea party” in their names by requiring them to provide additional information about their organization.
Since information about the targeting was released, President Barack Obama strongly condemned the department’s actions, describing them as “inexcusable,” and several congressional representatives from both political parties called for Miller’s resignation.
“Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” said Obama at a press conference announcing Miller’s resignation. “It should not matter what political stripe you’re from. The fact of the matter is, the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.” CNN reports that the president will be working with Congress to investigate the matter and that new safeguards will be in place to prevent this type of targeting from happening again.
Miller was only serving as the acting commissioner of the department, as the Senate had not yet confirmed a permanent commissioner to lead the IRS.
Miller is expected to testify on Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee, where he will discuss the actions of his employees, which have been identified as two “rogue” employees in the department’s Cincinnati office. The two employees have already been disciplined, but it has been determined that poor judgment extended throughout the department. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that criminal behavior may have occurred.
The IRS commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division wrote a response to the investigation saying that he believed the issue arose due to inefficient management, and that no criminal activity has occurred. “We believe that the front-line career employees that made the decisions acted out of a desire for efficiency and not out of any political and partisan viewpoint.” The report says that the targeting affected less than 100 applications.
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