Acting IRS Chief Resigns, Obama Condemns 'Inexcusible' Targeting of Tea Party Groups

Obama Condemns IRS Targeting After Report Details Agency Missteps

ByABC News
May 15, 2013, 4:26 PM

May 15, 2013— -- President Obama announced on Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service acting commissioner Steven Miller has submitted his resignation for his agency's "inexcusable" targeting of conservative groups who had applied for tax-exempt status.

"I reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog's report and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable," Obama said in the East Room of the White House. "Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I'm angry about it."

"I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency but especially at the IRS given the power that it has and the reach it has inside of our lives," he added.

His comments come after the Treasury Inspector General released a report on Tuesday implicating "poor management" for allowing the practice to singling out groups with names like "tea party" or "patriot" in their names for additional scrutiny.

Obama said that he intends to hold the "responsible parties accountable" and pledged to work with Congress and the Treasury department to investigate the problems at the IRS and ensure that it never happens again.

"The IRS has to operate with absolute integrity," Obama said. "We will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role and our administration has to ensure that we are working hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed."

In a message to IRS employees on Wednesday, Miller said he would leave his post in early June in an effort to address the "strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation's tax agency."

"While I recognize that much work needs to be done to restore faith in the IRS, I don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that the IRS is comprised of incredibly dedicated and hard-working public servants," Miller wrote. " I have strong confidence in the IRS leadership team to continue the important work of our agency."

It has been a scandal-filled week for the Obama administration, which has fielded questions about the administration's response to the Benghazi attack in Libya, and a Justice Department probe of months of telephone records from Associated Press reporters.

Lawmakers have also raised questions about the Obama administration's knowledge of the IRS targeting.

For his part, Obama said on Monday that he first learned that the IRS was inappropriately targeting conservative groups when news outlets reported the story on Friday.

Other than Miller's resignation, there has been no indication that other IRS officials responsible for the policy of targeting conservative groups have been disciplined.

Today CNN and MSNBC reported that two IRS agents have been disciplined, but four senators on the Finance Committee, officials on the House Oversight committee and several Congressional leadership aides say they had not been told of that.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a member of the committee, dismissed the idea of a rogue employee or two.

"If heads are going to roll, they will have to roll in Washington -- not just Cincinnati," Grassley told ABC News. "This is more than a rogue employee."READ: ABC News full coverage of the IRS scandal

Congressional outrage has come fast and furious since the IRS official in charge of tax-exempt groups, Lois Lerner, first admitted and apologized on Friday for inappropriately targeting conservative groups.

House and Senate committees have two hearings in the coming days, and high-ranking lawmakers of both parties, including House Majority Leader John Boehner, have called for accountability.

"Now my question isn't about who is going to resign," Boehner (R-Ohio), told reporters today. "My question is, Who's going to jail over this scandal?"