With his administration besieged by a rising wave of scandals, President Barack Obama moved on Wednesday to appease bipartisan anger over the improper singling out of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
Saying that Americans were “right to be angry about” IRS actions, the president announced that he had requested and received the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller. The president made the statement during a brief appearance in the East Room of the White House, but did not take questions from reporters afterward. He also released a letter sent from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to Miller demanding his resignation, the Washington Post notes.
On Friday, IRS officials admitted that the agency had used words associated with the Tea Party and conservative politics to flag groups seeking tax-exempt status. Those groups were then subjected to greater scrutiny. Obama called the practice “inexcusable” on Wednesday.
Congressional leaders have demanded hearings into the IRS scandal. The administration is also facing continuing scrutiny over the way it handled the terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, last year. Republicans have sharply criticized public statements made by administration officials in the days after the attack, which sought attribute the attack to anger over an anti-Muslim Internet video.
Earlier this week, the administration also came under fire from the Associated Press after the news organization learned that the Department of Justice had obtained secret subpoenas allowing it to collect telephone calling data linked to AP editors, reporters and bureaus. The DOJ did not say why it wanted the data, but it is believed to be investigating the leak of classified information regarding a failed 2012 terrorist plot.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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