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Obama Names New Acting IRS Commissioner

Rain fell Thursday during part of President Obama's joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip  Erdogan in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Saul Loeb
AFP/Getty Images
Rain fell Thursday during part of President Obama's joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Rose Garden of the White House.

Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave

Another official is out at the embattled agency.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief

The president on Thursday named Daniel Werfel as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Werfel replaces Steven Miller who was ousted Wednesday over the agency's improper scrutiny of conservative groups.

In a statement, the White House said Werfel will serve through the end of the fiscal year. Here's more about him from the White House statement:

"Mr. Werfel, 42, currently serves as Controller of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he has led efforts across the federal government to improve Federal program integrity, including all areas of financial management, financial reporting, accounting standards, improper payments, and financial systems, among others. Prior to his current role, Mr. Werfel served in multiple career civil service capacities at OMB, including as Deputy Controller, Chief of the Financial Integrity and Analysis Branch, Budget Examiner in the Education Branch, and Policy Analyst in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Mr. Werfel has also served as a Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.

"Mr. Werfel is a recipient of both national and local awards from the Association of Government Accountants for his contributions to Federal financial management. During the Bush Administration, he was the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. Mr. Werfel also served as a member of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board from 2006 to 2009.

"Mr. Werfel holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelors Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University."

Here's our original post:

Asked if he can assure the nation that no one in the White House knew before last week that some IRS personnel had singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny during the 2012 campaign cycle, President Obama said Thursday afternoon that, "I certainly did not know."

"I promise you this," Obama added, "that the minute I found out ... my main focus was to get the thing fixed."

Wednesday night, the White House announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and accepted the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller. That news came the same day that a Treasury inspector general reported that the IRS had "used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention." The report blamed "ineffective management" for allowing that targeting to happen.

Word of what the IRS did has prompted sharp criticism from Republicans.

Related posts from It's All Politics:

-- 10 Things We Learned From the IRS Inspector General Report.

-- Goodbye, Again, To Obama's Most Audacious Hope

-- Controversies Risk Starving Obama's Agenda Of Air

Obama spoke during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting the White House.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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