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IRS replaces official: How many heads will roll?

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Lerner's lawyer, William W. Taylor III, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lerner is the IRS official who first publicly disclosed on May 10 that IRS agents had been targeting tea party and other conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. At the time she apologized on behalf of the IRS, but it wasn't enough to stop a firestorm of criticism from the White House and Congress.

If Lerner, a career civil servant, is dismissed she would become the third IRS official to lose their job in the scandal. Last week, President Barack Obama forced acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to resign,replacing him with Werfel, a former White House budget official who started at the IRS on Wednesday.

Also last week, Joseph Grant, one of Miller's top deputies, announced plans to retire June 3, according to an internal IRS memo. Grant had just been named commissioner of the agency's tax exempt and government entities division, which includes the agents that targeted tea party groups. Grant had been the acting head of the division since 2010.

Lerner provided one of the most electric moments since the controversy erupted when she unwaveringly — but briefly — defended herself before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday.

"I have not done anything wrong," she told the committee, reading from a written statement. "I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee."

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