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Obama names acting head of US tax agency

Decision comes after former IRS boss resigned over allegations that agency targeted conservative groups.

Last Modified: 16 May 2013 20:37
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President Barack Obama will appoint senior White House budget officer Daniel Werfel to be acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the US tax agencym a White House official says.

Werfel will replace Steven Miller, ousted Wednesday amid revelations that the IRS improperly singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.

The 42-year-old Werfel is the controller of the Office of Management and Budget, a job akin to a chief financial officer. Though Werfel was appointed to that job by Obama, he also worked during the administration of President George W. Bush.

The official was not authorised to speak on the record about the announcement and revealed Werfel's appointment on the condition of anonymity, according to the Associated Press.

'Hold accountable and responsible'

After days of inaction, Obama has tried to move swiftly in response to reports of inappropriate targeting by the IRS.

At a press conference earlier on Thursday, Obama said he was committed to fully fixing problems at the agency, saying any employees involved in targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny would be held accountable for their actions.

Obama also said he did not know about a report by the IRS inspector general on the targeting before it was leaked to the press.

"Typically, the IG reports are not supposed to be widely distributed or shared. They tend to be, you know, a process that everybody's trying to protect the integrity of," Obama said at a press conference with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The president is trying to limit political fallout from the scandal, which critics say is an example of government overreach.

Obama said further investigations would bring to light who was responsible and what had gone wrong. The IRS revealed last week that some of its officials had singled out Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status for special scrutiny.

"The actions that were described in that IG report are unacceptable," Obama said. "So in addition to making sure that we've got a new acting director there, we're also going to make sure that we gather up the facts and hold accountable and responsible anybody who was involved in this."

Obama also urged that laws "that create a bunch of ambiguity" for the IRS in applying tax rules be cleared up.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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