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By Amanda Gomez
President Obama announced that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be ousted after disclosures that the agency gave special scrutiny to conservative groups that applied for federal tax-exempt status. The then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller was aware employees were targeting certain conservative groups during May 2012.
The Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew accepted the resignation of the then-acting commissioner. Miller will officially step down as commissioner in early June. Miller didn’t tell congress about it when he testified before the oversight committee in July, despite having been questioned on said issue.
President Obama said that the agency’s misconduct was “inexcusable” and that “Americans have a right to be angry about it.” President Obama vowed to work “hand in hand” with Congress as it investigates the matter and new safeguards will be put in place at the IRS so that “this doesn’t happen again.”
Attorney General Eric H. Holder is warning top I.R.S. officials of a Justice Department Inquiry that will examine any false statements to see if they can constitute a crime. The investigations will examine whether IRS officials lied to Congress about the singling out of conservative groups, Holder said.
Despite Miller’s resignation, he is expected to testify Friday at a hearing before the House Committee on Ways and Means.
These controversial actions have begun after the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that expanded the ability of corporations, unions, and other organizations to participate in election spending. Since this Supreme Court decision, the number of politically oriented groups seeking tax exempt status increased greatly at a time when the federal government, including the I.R.S, was dealing with austerity measures that reduced or stopped personnel and resources.