Domestic Taxes

Obama appoints Werfel as IRS commissioner

President Obama on Thursday appointed Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Controller Danny Werfel as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. 

{mosads}Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, stepped down on Wednesday amid a growing scandal after it was discovered that the IRS targeted conservative groups based on their politics.

Over the last year at OMB, Werfel, who also worked at OMB under President George W. Bush’s administration, has been charged with planning out how the sequester would be implemented. 

The White House announced President Obama was appointing Werfel, 42, in a press release.

“Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Obama said. “The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”

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Obama said Werfel will lead efforts to ensure the IRS implements new safeguards to restore public trust and administer the tax code with fairness and integrity. He said Werfel has agreed to serve through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Obama has sought to get on top of the scandal at the IRS, which has threatened to sink much of his second-term agenda. The first congressional hearing on the controversy will be held on Friday.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday suggested some officials at the IRS could head to jail for their actions.

Speaking to reporters earlier Thursday, Obama said his “main concern” was to immediately remedy the IRS debacle.

“I promise you this, the minute I found out about it, my main focus was making sure we get the thing fixed.”

On Wednesday, after reviewing the Treasury Department’s watchdog report on the matter, Obama called the IRS situation “inexcusable.”

“Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” Obama said. “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 into all of our lives.”

The president is turning to Werfel to right the ship at the IRS. He climbed the ranks of the budget office during the Bush administration, after spending a decade at OMB. He holds a law degree from the University of North Carolina, and spent two years as a trial attorney at the Justice Department.

In 2009, Obama nominated Werfel to be controller of the OMB.

“In government, like in the private sector, the ability to execute is the key to success. Danny Werfel has world class execution skills,” Jeff Zients, the deputy director of OMB said of Werfel in March. “He simply knows how to get things done. Coupling that with his 15 years of experience working at OMB has enabled him to drive productivity gains and service.”

Clay Johnson, Bush’s deputy OMB director, said Werfel built government-wide relationships during his time there and “earned the respect of people across government.”

“He’s not someone who will just start ordering people around,” Johnson told The Hill in an interview in March. “He’s calm under pressure and very composed. He has a lot of depth and puts in a lot of thought. He’s very measured and doesn’t respond to things emotionally”

“He implemented government-wide projects very well with clear, time-specific goals and accountability for follow through,” Johnson said.

This story was last updated at 4:08 p.m.

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