WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced the resignation of the head of the Internal Revenue Service, the first head to roll in a growing scandal over the inappropriate treatment doled out to conservative groups.
President Obama arrives to deliver a statement from the White House on Wednesday.
In a televised statement, Obama said Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, will step down after a request from Treasury Sec. Jacob Lew.
Obama said he was “angry” about the behavior of IRS agents, who an inspector-general found used “inappropriate” criteria to review applications from tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday said that the Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into the matter, and House Speaker John Boehner said jail time may be appropriate. Read more on the political reaction.
Eric Holder is grilled on the IRS scandal and the subpoenas of Associated Press phone records. Gold drops below $1,400, approaching prices not seen since its historic plunge a month ago.
“I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” Obama said.
Obama said new safeguards will need to be put in place. He also said the laws will have to be clear so that they can be enforced in a fair and impartial way.
The statement concludes a busy day at the White House, which also is under fire on other fronts.
Holder was grilled in front of a House committee hearing on the subpoenas made to the Associated Press, while the White House released a trove of emails on the reaction to the Benghazi attacks that left four diplomats dead.
Brian Gardner, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, says the scandals may make reaching agreements with Congress on matters of interest to the stock market more difficult.
“Reaching agreements on raising the debt ceiling, the budget, and tax reform have become more difficult now that three political scandals are brewing in Washington,” he said in a note to clients.