Rubio: Fire that nonexistent IRS commissioner!
Based on news that the IRS investigated Republican-friendly 401(k) -- I mean 501(C)4 -- groups, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is demanding that the IRS commissioner be fired.
Small problem: There is no commissioner.
The old commish, George H. W. Bush appointee Douglas Shulman, resigned in November. Obama hasn't nominated a permanent replacement, probably because the presidential election intervened and also probably because the GOP hasn't been bothering lately to approve most of his nominees anyway.
The acting commissioner, Steven T. Miller, is a long-time IRS employee. The departed Shulman was in charge of the IRS when the controversial investigations were conducted, so, as http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com
points out, the commissioner in charge when it happened has already left the arena.
I suppose the Repubs could insist that Shulman be re-appointed just so they could fire him, but they probably wouldn't want to persecute a guy who was originally a Bush pick. Or they could just keep coming after Miller, as Rubio apparently intended (he said a letter demanding the firing of the "commissioner" should have included the word "acting," too).
What an act, indeed. Rubio and too many of his colleagues are merely acting like serious people.
It's true that, as the GOP has complained, Miller didn't inform Congress about the apparently botched investigation (which allegations, remember, are themselves still under investigation) after he first learned of it about a year ago. It's also true, as Miller has said, that congressional cuts in the IRS budget have hampered its ability to operate efficiently and by the rules -- just, in fact, like Republican budget cuts affected diplomatic security leading up to the Benghazi incident.
Hey, GOP, remember the Colin Powell "Pottery Barn" rule: You break it, you bought it.
If they can't calm down, maybe Republicans will just have to confirm a new commissioner, then fire him or her. Meanwhile, perhaps, they'll use this incident as an excuse to further cut IRS general staff. Sacrificial rites are so lovely in the spring, don't you think? Besides, you simply can't have the IRS actually struggling to do what Congress required of it, and in contradictory fashion. Learn about that conundrum by watching a short news segment from Monday's PBS Newshour, in which Duke University Law Professor Richard Schmalbeck lays out the problem: http://www.pbs.org/..