The new acting IRS chief stressed Monday that he was pressing ahead to fix the problems that allowed the agency to target conservative groups, saying the current controversies had sparked a difficult time at the IRS. Danny Werfel, in his first testimony on Capitol Hill, also stressed that the current controversy shouldn’t be used to tar the entire agency. Werfel, who has been acting commissioner for less than two weeks, told a House Appropriations subcommittee Monday that the singling out of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status was inexcusable. “We have a great deal of work ahead of us to review and correct the serious problems that have occurred at the IRS and continue the important work of the agency on behalf of taxpayers,” Werfel said in prepared remarks for his first congressional appearance in his new role.
The new acting chief is in the midst of a 30-day, top-to-bottom review of the IRS, undertaken at the request of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
In his testimony, Werfel said that review would deal with far more than just how the agency handles tax-exempt applications, and look at how broader IRS operations could be improved.
“We owe it to the American public to use this moment as an opportunity to take a hard look internally at the IRS and see where other deficiencies or risks may exits, and take action to address them,” he said.
Werfel also made clear that he believes the vast majority of IRS staffers are also disappointed in the recent controversies swirling around the agency.