Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Acts on Flaps in Libya, at IRS Names Replacement at Tax Agency, Seeks More Security Funds

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Acts on Flaps in Libya, at IRS Names Replacement at Tax Agency, Seeks More Security Funds

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama, seeking to regain his footing amid controversies hammering the White House, named a temporary chief Thursday for the scandal-marred Internal Revenue Service and pressed Congress to approve new funding for security to prevent another Benghazi-style terrorist attack.

The efforts did little to satisfy Republicans, who see the controversies as an opportunity to derail Mr. Obama's second-term agenda. House Speaker John Boehner suggested that the White House had violated the public's trust, and he promised to "stop at nothing" to hold the administration accountable. "Nothing dissolves the bonds between the people and their government like the arrogance of power here in Washington," said Mr. Boehner, R-Ohio. "And that's what the American people are seeing today from the Obama administration -- remarkable arrogance."

The targeting of conservative political groups by the IRS and new questions about the deadly attack last year on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya -- along with the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press journalists' phone records -- have consumed the White House for nearly a week. Of the three controversies, the president's advisers see the IRS matter as the most likely to linger. At least three congressional committees are planning investigations.

Mr. Obama, who was criticized by both opponents and allies for his measured initial response to the IRS targeting, vowed to ensure that the agency acts "scrupulously and without even a hint of bias."

"I think we're going to be able to fix it," he declared during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Soon afterward, Mr. Obama appointed senior budget official Danny Werfel to temporarily run the IRS, one day after the forced resignation of the current acting commissioner, Steven Miller. The White House is expected to nominate a permanent commissioner later this year. But the president knocked down the prospect of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS, saying the congressional investigations and a separate Justice Department probe should be enough to nail down who was responsible for improperly targeting Tea Party groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. …

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