The IRS scandal has claimed its first scalp. Steve Miller, the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, has resigned at the request of the Treasury secretary, President Obama announced in a late-afternoon statement to the media. The agency was found to have inappropriately targeted conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. “Americans are right to be angry about it,” Obama said of the misconduct. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior ... given the power that [the IRS] has and the reach that it has in all of our lives.” Obama also said he’d cooperate with Congress during its oversight review.
"I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS," Obama said at the White House. "Given the power that it has, and the reach that it has in all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you're from, the fact of the matter is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity."
Obama also said that his administration will implement new procedures to ensure the same kind of misconduct does not occur again, inviting lawmakers to assist in the effort.
"I've directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the [Inspector General's] recommendations right away," Obama said. "Third, we will work with congress as it performs its oversight role."
An internal Treasury Department report found that ineffective management at the agency allowed employees to inappropriately single out conservative non-profit groups for additional reviews during in the run up to the 2012 election, focusing on such key words as “Tea Party,” ”Patriots” or “9/12 Project” in their applications.
Miller said that he would not be leaving the agency immediately in order to facilitate a transition, according to a resignation letter obtained by CNN:
May 15, 2013
The internal message to IRS Employees from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller
It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June. This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation's tax agency. I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period. As I wrap up my time at the IRS, I will be focused on an orderly transition.
While I recognize that much work needs to be done to restore faith in the IRS, I don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that the IRS is comprised of incredibly dedicated and hard-working public servants. During my 25-year IRS career, I am profoundly proud to have worked alongside you and to be part of an institution that has worked hard to support the nation. I have strong confidence in the IRS leadership team to continue the important work of our agency.
I want to thank everyone for all of their support and friendship during my career in government service. And I especially want to thank each and every one of you for your continued commitment to the nation's taxpayers.