President Barack Obama named a new, full-time commissioner of the IRS on Thursday, giving the besieged agency a permanent leader.
Obama nominated John Koskinen, a veteran of government service who helped oversee the restructuring of mortgage giant Freddie Mac in the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, to lead the IRS.
"John is an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform," Obama said in a statement. "With decades of experience, in both the private and public sectors, John knows how to lead in difficult times, whether that means ensuring new management or implementing new checks and balances."
The IRS, of course, has become the target of Republicans' ire following revelations in May that the tax-collection agency had inappropriately scrutinized conservative and Tea Party groups in their applications for tax-exempt status. Obama fired the active IRS commissioner, Stephen Miller, at the time; Daniel Werfel has been serving as interim acting IRS commissioner since late May.
Koskinen will have to face confirmation by the Senate.
"With a distinguished record of turning around large companies and reorganizing the management and operations of highly complex public and private institutions, John is the right person to take on this critical position at this important time," said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
The explosive revelations about prompted dramatic cries of outrage from congressional Republicans, who have convened a number of hearings to excoriate the Obama administration and IRS officials. Though Republicans have openly suggested that the administration directed the IRS to target its political enemies, GOP investigators have so far failed to marshal any evidence to that effect.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday nonetheless vowed to push forward with further inquiries into the IRS and the administration's response to last year's terrorist attack against a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
"There's nothing phony about these scandals, Mr. President ... not when the agency enforcing your health care law has been harassing Americans because of their political beliefs," Boehner said, referring to Obama's own remarks on Tuesday calling Republicans' outrage "phony scandals."
"The American people deserve answers, and we're going to continue to fight for the truth, no matter how badly the administration wants to sweep these issues under the carpet," Boehner added.
First published August 1 2013, 11:09 AM