Obama Names Former Clinton Administration Official to Run Beleaguered IRS

Ron Edmonds/AP file photo

President Obama is nominating John Koskinen, the executive who led the government’s response to the Year 2000 computer problem, as Internal Revenue commissioner, the White House announced Thursday.

Koskinen most recently was non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac, and served on multiple corporate boards. As deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, he was assistant to the president for Y2K matters, the threat that computers would be rendered dysfunctional by the turn of the Millennium.

“John is an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform,” Obama said in a statement. “With decades of experience, in both the private and public sectors, John knows how to lead in difficult times, whether that means ensuring new management or implementing new checks and balances. Every part of our government must operate with absolute integrity and that is especially true for the IRS. I am confident that John will do whatever it takes to restore the public’s trust in the agency.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew added, “Because John has a clear understanding of how to make organizations more effective and an unshakeable commitment to public service, he will be an exceptional leader who will strengthen the institution and restore confidence in the IRS.”

Former Controller Danny Werfel has led the IRS on an acting basis since a scandal broke in May involving alleged targeting of conservative political groups. Lew added praise for Werfel, saying he has “done a remarkable job of putting the IRS on a stronger footing in just a matter of months. He has improved the agency’s operations, and he has paved the way so that the IRS can meet its fundamental obligation to provide fair, high-quality service to taxpayers.”

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