After accepting the resignation of Steven Miller, the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service who was going to leave the agency in June anyway, and then reviewing the Treasury’s report on IRS malfeasance in the “conservative charity targeting” scandal, President Obama expressed the sentiments of many on Wednesday:
I've reviewed the Treasury Department’s watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered was inexcusable. It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it.
He then went on to say that the IRS’ problems are “fixable” as long as Congress doesn't get “political” over the incident:
The good news, it’s fixable. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again, by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and, going forward, by making sure the law is applied as it should be — in a fair and impartial way.…
[We will work] hand-in-hand with Congress to get this thing fixed [as long as it] does not smack of politics or partisan agendas.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was more direct, asking “Who’s going to jail in this scandal?” while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added: “We’ll find out the answers to all these questions … this is completely unacceptable in our free society.”
To that end no fewer than six congressional committees are getting ready to ask those questions (who knew what, when, and why?), including the House Ways and Means Committee, which has scheduled hearings for Friday (to quiz the now-resigned IRS commissioner); the Senate Finance Committee; and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has already subpoenaed Holly Paz, John Shafer, and Joseph Herr — senior IRS officials closely connected with the targeting scandal for their testimonies on Monday.
In addition, Attorney General Eric Holder announced an investigation into the matter, and agreed to cooperate with a separate FBI investigation, saying “The facts will take us wherever they take us. This will not be about parties. This will not be about ideological persuasions. Anyone who has broken the law will be held accountable.”
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