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Top Dem tax-writer Levin calls for IRS officials to resign

The ranking Democrat on the House’s tax-writing committee on Wednesday called for two senior officials at the IRS to step down over the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, and Lois Lerner, who runs the IRS's section on tax-exempt organizations, should resign.

"My own judgment is that, based on the report from the inspector general, I think there's reason to believe that Mr. Miller should be released of his responsibilities as well as Ms. Lerner," Levin said in an interview on MSNBC. "There was such total mismanagement."

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The inspector general's report found that there was "insufficient oversight" at the IRS that resulted in employees at the agency's Cincinnati field office applying increased scrutiny to a number of Tea Party groups. The report said that "inappropriate criteria" had been used to judge whether those groups should receive tax-exempt status.

President Obama said the report's findings were "intolerable and inexcusable."

A number of lawmakers that head powerful congressional panels have announced hearings on the IRS's actions.

Levin said the next person to lead the IRS should have total command of the agency and a thorough understanding of the issues the agency deals with.

"I think they need to appoint someone who has command of the issues and who is a real presence," Levin said. "I think the early reports shows there's a lot of gray areas. Some of the groups that are saying they're 501(c)(4)s are not, perhaps, involved in social services. It's hard to believe in many cases.

“We need someone to take charge of this, to make sense of it, to manage it well. There were sometimes 20 months waiting for an answer — this is from the group on tax-exempt organizations. We need somebody in full command, and that has to ripple throughout all sections of the IRS."