In an interesting twist, President Barack Obama‘s former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, criticized his friend and former boss’ “exceedingly passive” response to the revelation that the IRS placed extra scrutiny on conservative groups:
“The problem is this – the tenor of this briefing would be different if the president had spoken about this on Saturday or Sunday and not on Monday,” Gibbs told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about an awkward briefing conducted by current press secretary Jay Carney.
“And if the president had spoken on Monday, less about losing patience on this, which is what I do with my 9-year-old, and used far more vivid language.”
Gibbs said that it would have been in the best interest of the White House to immediately propose a bipartisan panel of former IRS commissioners to investigate.
“I think [then] they would have a much better way of talking about this story rather than simply kind of landing on the, ‘well if this happened, then we’ll look at it’,” Gibbs said. “It sounds exceedingly passive to me.”
See Gibbs’ remarks below:
As the controversy continues, Steven Miller, the acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner, resigned Wednesday at the request of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew over his role in the agency’s “outrageous” actions, President Obama announced during a White House press conference.
“It’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward,” Obama said.
“If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way than that is outrageous, it is contradictory to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable.”
“This is pretty straightforward,” Obama said. “If in fact its personnel engaged in the type of practices that have been reported, and have been intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous.”
The president said that concern over the neutrality of the agency should exist “regardless of party.”
“I have no patience with it, I will not tolerate it,” Obama said.
See Obama’s remarks below:
As previously reported by NewsOne contributor Michael Arceneaux, Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said that conservative groups deserved to be flagged for extensive reviews given that they are “overly racist.”
Back in 2006, the NAACP was the subject of its own controversial review from the Internal Revenue Service, after they criticized then-President George W. Bush during the 2004 presidential campaign. Ultimately, the IRS ruled that the nation’s oldest civil rights organization “continued to qualify” as tax-exempt. In an interview with The Washington Post, Bond said of the investigation: “It was an enormous threat” and noted that had the IRS revoked its tax exempt status it “would have reduced our income remarkably.”
Bond went further, suggesting that the investigation was politically motivated and the end result ”meant that they thought they had harassed us enough and they could stop.”
So is there a double standard in Bond giving the IRS free reign to target groups whose views oppose his?
Bond told MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, “I don’t think there’s a double standard at all. I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the Tea Party.
“I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can,” Bond explained.
“[The Tea Party] is the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them.”
When asked if he thought that his comments were “a little harsh,” Bond quipped, “The truth hurts.”
Read more by clicking here.
In a resignation letter obtained by TheHill.com, Miller, a 25-year veteran of the IRS, told colleagues that he would remain with the agency until next month.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency,” wrote Miller. “I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period.”