By Aamer Madhani and Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - President Obama said on Thursday that he wasnaming a trusted White House budget official, Daniel Werfel, to serve as his new acting IRS commissioner, while a second top IRS official announced he was stepping down from the agency in the aftermath of revelations that the agency had targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
Joseph Grant, commissioner of the agency's tax exempt and government entities division, will retire on June 3, according to an IRS statement. Grant joined the IRS in August 2005 and became the deputy commissioner of the tax exempt division in 2007. He became the second senior IRS official in as many days to offer his resignation.
Grant had only be elevated to the position of commissioner of the division last week--two days before the agency confirmed the targeting of Tea Party groups and conservative organizations applying for tax exempt status.
Meanwhile, Obama announced that the controller of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Werfel, will move into the job of acting IRS commissioner next week, replacing Steven Miller.
"Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill," Obama said in a statement. "The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time."
Obama said on Wednesday that he'd accepted the resignation of Miller, saying the agency needed a change in leadership.
Werfel, 42, will start the job on Wednesday and has agreed to serve in the position through September.
Werfel, who is known around the White House as Danny, will lead the IRS efforts to restore its reputation that has taken a beaten since it was made public that the organization was targeting conservative groups.
He has served in a number of other positions at OMB, including deputy controller, chief of financial integrity and as a policy analyst. He also served during the George W. Bush administration as a member of the Federal Accounting and Standards Advisory Board.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who has known Werfel for more than 15 years, said Werfel has the makeup to help the agency get through a difficult period.
"He is an immensely talented and dedicated public servant who has ably served presidents of both parties. Danny has a strong record of raising his hand for -- and excelling at -- tough management assignments," Lew said in a statement.