IRS commissioner resigns over Tea Party scandal

President Obama announced the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller this evening.

In his brief remarks at 6:20pm Eastern this evening from the White House’s East Room, the President said that what had happened at the IRS was “inexcusable.”

While Miller wasn’t the IRS commissioner in charge when the scandal actually happened – that was Bush appointee Doug Shulman – Miller was aware of the heightened scrutiny the IRS was giving Tea Party groups, and had testified before Congress and written to Congress and not mentioned the Tea Party targeting.

Ex- acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller

Ex- acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller

There still isn’t any evidence that the heightened scrutiny for Tea Party tax-exempt applications was due to political reasons.  But, it looks bad, and at some point, with all the other craziness going on – like the AP scandal that’s a real issue that has many on the left also disturbed – the administration needed to cut its losses.

Not that this will make the Republicans go away.  Keep in mind, these are people who are fundraising off of the bodies of our Benghazi dead. So don’t expect them not to make political hay of something far less farcical than the Benghazi accusations.

Interestingly, as of this writing, Miller is still listed as the acting Commissioner on the IRS Web site, suggesting this might have been a quick, and surprising, move:

IRS Web site still lists Steve Miller as acting commissioner.

IRS Web site still lists Steve Miller as acting commissioner.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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19 Responses to “IRS commissioner resigns over Tea Party scandal”

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/16/politics/obama-scandals/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    I was starting to scan this story when the first paragraph caught my attention.

    **** Washington (CNN) — Facing a trio of possible scandals that threaten to overwhelm his second term agenda, President Barack Obama on Thursday rejected calls for a special counsel to investigate Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups and declared he would fix any problems in government. ****

    All of a sudden my tinfoil hat started making funny ‘crinkling’ noises, and I thought to myself – “Preplanned Polical Theater”.

    BHO is very much into “austerity” for the serfs, and has been doing some serious butt-kissing of the Republicans in an effort to grease the skids for that agenda. He was a leading figure in the Sequester thing.

    Why not go a step further, and trim the IRS even more than did the Smirking Chimp – severely handicap its investigations of the Top .1%?

    First you need a really serious scandal, properly investigated like no other such BHO scandal has been. Then you need some bi-partisan legislation to enact True Reforms. (this legislation written by the criminals themselves, of course)

    Voilà!

    With even less Federal money, the serfs MUST be soaked more and austerity MUST continue.

  2. karmanot says:

    Typically, Obama is kissing every ass in town for the wrong reasons. Where was Mr. morally outraged, when the Koch brothers and Rove were applying and getting the 501-C-4 royal treatment? The IRS was doing its duty and should expand its targets to churches and religious shell games.

  3. ezpz says:

    No, shorter and ACTUAL version:

    “It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June,”</i

    His term ends in June, and he’s still there until June.

  4. ezpz says:

    “Interestingly, as of this writing, Miller is still listed as the acting Commissioner on the IRS Web site, suggesting this might have been a quick, and surprising, move…”

    Even more interesting is the fact that he was leaving in June anyway. And with this *firing* he’s still leaving in June. I thought when someone gets fired, they’re asked to immediately, and under a watchful eye, gather their belongings and leave – toute d’suite!

    http://www.examiner.com/article/angry-obama-irs-statement-smoke-and-mirrors-irs-head-was-leaving-anyway

  5. Indigo says:

    That was a Bush appointee that did it? Oh! Skulldugger a la Cheney, in other words.

  6. BeccaM says:

    Thanks. Silly typo.

  7. MichaelS says:

    John, wish you could also take up the cause that Lawrence O’Donnell has been championing (http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/05/13/odonnell-the-real-irs-scandal-happened-in-1959/) and that CREW has also endorsed (http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/entry/crew-statement-on-increasing-scrutiny-of-irs-501c4).

    In a nutshell, the LAW states that 501-c-4 groups must operate **exclusively** for social welfare. The law is unambiguous. But in 1959 the IRS inexplicably issued a rule stating that they would interpret “exclusively” to mean “primarily” and no one has ever challenged that — thus opening the floodgates for the anonymous taxpayer-subsidized political spending we see now.

    Treasury is under the Executive branch, and all Obama has to do is to have the Treasury Secretary direct the agency to do nothing more than FOLLOW THE LAW. It would immediately end the possibility of this kind of enforcement crisis of ambiguous regs, and it would have the added benefit of immediately killing the anonymity of these donors as well as their taxpayer subsidy. This was a goal of progressives and Dems following Citizens United, but of course the Repugs killed it. NOW in the name of good government and to follow the will of Congress, by one easy action Obama could instantly turn this around.

    But of course he’s a coward, and will be even more so, now. PLEASE take this cause up… It could be the most significant and lasting accomplishment of the Obama presidency.

  8. Stev84 says:

    Edited to clarify. But as said below they fall under (4). They can do some politics, but it can’t be their main function. Which is something all these PACs violate.

  9. caphillprof says:

    501(c)(4)

  10. caphillprof says:

    This is why the notion of just let the IRS do its job is so misplaced. The IRS is not an independent agency. Indeed, it’s more dependent upon the Congress than on the Executive. Congress never adequately funds and staffs the IRS to do its job.

  11. BeccaM says:

    Actually the regulations for 501(c)(3) is they’re supposed to be about ‘social advancement’. Not politics.

  12. karmanot says:

    Anything to bring down Obozo is worth the price.

  13. No, someone does NOT have to take the fall for it.

    Democrats need to learn that lesson. IF you feel you must apologize, than do it once, and only for what you actually did wrong. After that, stand up for yourselves, and we *will* have your back.

    Stop enabling the abusers.

  14. JamesR says:

    Instead of this president saying one “FUCK YOU” he’s giving a thousand apologies that will never be enough. Just one Fuck You – just one… ?

    Unbelievable.

    (unfortunately very believable)

    So the IRS is suspicious that organizations so closely associated with a new political party they share the name, the name, coincidentally, of the most famous tax protest in US history no less, who are in no way social welfare organizations but disguised political groups taking advantage of the rules for social groups so as to hide their filthy donor list, the scandal is that Obama told them to back off. Before the fact.

    That a Bush appointee did his job despite political meddling is yet another sign of World Gone Mad.

    And the new Obama appointee gets thrown under the bus.

    Heckofajob.

    Meanwhile people are dying for lack of chemotherapy due to the ‘sequester’ and we’re diddling about this – a room in Hell for ALL these Fucktards.

  15. nicho says:

    No, we need more scrutiny of political groups posing as non-profits. In this case, it was Koch Brothers groups trying to scam the system. We also need them to bring the hammer down on “churches” becoming involved in politics.

  16. Stev84 says:

    The difference is that such groups don’t necessarily engage in political activism, which is one of the requirements of being a tax-exempt non-profit under those regulations. Political activism however is the whole point of those teabagger astroturf groups.

  17. JayRandal says:

    Kind of a scapegoat but somebody has to take the fall for it. Acting Commissioner or Director or

    whatever you want to call him he goofed up. Now supervisors and auditors directly involved in stupidly
    of auditing Tea Party groups have to be terminated from employment too. Both parties should never
    utilize IRS as political attack dog on anybody. IRS needs to do its job of going after corporate dodgers
    of taxes.

    (Side reminder to Pres. Obama: Drop Chained-CPI plan for Social Security. You need friends
    on the left like me to back you up against impeachment. Otherwise we sit on our hands to watch GOP

    take you down via impeachment.)

  18. nicho says:

    Shorter version of his resignation letter: “I don’t need this shit. i’m not going to end up like Vince Foster. You assholes fight among yourselves. Keep me out of it.”

  19. BeccaM says:

    Then there was the time not that long ago when the IRS was routinely harassing non-profit gay rights groups.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/15/before-the-irs-harassed-the-tea-party-it-harassed-gay-rights-groups/

    (Big Mama Rag, Inc.) was a radical feminist collective in the 1970s, and it devoted itself to lectures, seminars, a free library, and publishing a newspaper to voice its ideas, namely the Big Mama Rag. The group applied for nonprofit status from the IRS, and was initially refused for, among other reasons, “the articles, lectures, editorials, etc. promoting lesbianism.”

    It wasn’t the end of the IRS taking a discriminatory tone toward nonprofit groups that dealt with homosexuality, however. In 1996, the Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Support System, a group devoted to helping young people deal with harassment and prejudice due to their sexuality, applied for tax exempt status. In response, an IRS official wrote that the group could be viewed as “tending to encourage or facilitate homosexual practice and propensities by the young and impressionable,” and asked the group to “describe in detail the procedures and safeguards in place to assure that counselors and participants do not encourage or facilitate homosexual practices or encourage the development of homosexual attitudes and propensities by minor individuals attending your programs.”

    It’s an interesting read. It seems they’ve been appointing themselves social and political judges for quite a while now.

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