New IRS head vows to restore trust in agency

Werfel came to the IRS after serving as a top official at the Office of Management and Budget. President Obama appointed him to take over the IRS following the resignation of Steven Miller, the previous acting commissioner, who stepped down after the IRS admitted to improperly targeting Tea Party groups.

Werfel told IRS employees that his first step as the new head will be to find out exactly how an IRS office in Cincinnati came to single out Tea Party groups for additional scrutiny in the processing of tax-exempt applications. He made clear that any hint of political bias at the agency is unacceptable, and vowed to cooperate with all investigators, including Congress, in figuring out what happened.

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"We have a solemn duty to act as responsible, fair and impartial stewards of the taxpayers' dollars," he said. "As someone who has spent my entire career as a civil servant in government, this is a duty that I hold dear, and any deviation from it is unacceptable to me, as I know it is to you."

Werfel said he would provide Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with a reporting detailing steps taken to address the matter by the end of June, and is beginning to solicit input from IRS employees about the proper course.

"The people of the IRS are what make this organization what it is and guide the incredibly important work that we do on behalf of the American people," he said. "Particularly at this time, we have an indispensable role to play in ensuring the nation's tax system is administered with the utmost fairness and integrity."