Obama to nominate John Koskinen for IRS chief

(Ron Edmonds/AP) - John Koskinen, whom the president has nominated to head the IRS. John Koskinen, whom the president has nominated to head the IRS. (Ron Edmonds/AP)

The White House on Thursday announced that President Obama would nominate John Koskinen, who oversaw the government’s preparations for Y2K and helped lead Freddie Mac out of the financial crisis, to head the embattled Internal Revenue Service.

“John is an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident that John will do whatever it takes to restore the public’s trust in the agency.”

Koskinen served as non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac from 2008 until 2011 and as CEO from 2009 until the end of his tenure with the mortgage giant. He was also deputy mayor and city administrator for the District of Columbia from 2000 until 2003 under former mayor Tony Williams.

If confirmed by the Senate, Koskinen would replace acting IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel, whom the president picked to lead the agency on an interim basis after an inspector general’s report revealed that the IRS had inappropriately targeted groups for extra scrutiny based on their political ideology. The last commissioner, Steven Miller, resigned in May under pressure from the White House.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew applauded the president’s selection of Koskinen in a statement on Thursday. “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 strenghten the institution and restore confidence in the IRS,” he said.

Lew also commended Werfel for his work putting the IRS on a stronger footing after the targeting controversy, which led to a host of personnel moves, a top-to-bottom internal review, congressional investigations and a Justice Department probe. “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,” the treasury director said.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.
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