Wednesday, May 15, 2013
One notable aspect of the Internal Revenue Service scandal is President Obama's strange view of accountability within the executive branch. In his Monday remarks addressing the targeting of conservative groups for tax-exempt scrutiny, Mr. Obama declared that the IRS is "an independent agency."
In his press briefing after the story broke on Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney hit the same note. "The IRS is an independent enforcement agency with only two political appointees," he said.
The IRS is many things, but "independent" isn't one of them. It is formally part of the Treasury Department and is headed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed by the President. The Commissioner is accountable to the President reporting through the Treasury Secretary.