IRS Head Forced Out After Tea Party Scandal

<a href=""></a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has requested and accepted the resignation of acting Internal Revenue Service commissioner Steven Miller in response to news that the agency singled out some conservative organizations for extra scrutiny.

Beginning in March 2010, the IRS targeted groups with words like “tea party” and “patriot” in their names when applying tax laws relating to political activity. There’s no evidence other groups got the same level of scrutiny, although according to a investigation by the Treasury Department’s inspector general, that was due more to murky campaign finance laws than ideological discrimination.

“I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives,” said Obama, who took heat this week over the IRS affair as well as his administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack and the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records.

Miller wasn’t at the IRS when the Tea Party targeting happened—Bush appointee Doug Shulman was in charge then. But according to the IRS, Miller failed to alert the Obama administration to the problem when he learn it in May 2012. Miller is scheduled to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.

Obama also announced that he had told Treasury Secretary Lew to implement recommendations in the inspector general’s report, which doesn’t mention Miller’s name, and said he will work with Congress “as it performs its oversight role.”

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend