By Tracy Bloom
Not Miller Time: In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has accepted the resignation of acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven Miller, President Obama announced Wednesday. Miller had been under fire after it was revealed last week the the IRS was targeting right-wing groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. (Read more)
Going Rogue: Before Miller’s resignation, reports surfaced that the IRS has pinned the controversy surrounding the government agency’s targeting of conservative groups on two “rogue” workers. Congressional sources told CNN that the former acting IRS commissioner described the employees, who reportedly worked at the agency’s Cincinnati office, as being “off the reservation” during a meeting on Capitol Hill. NBC News reported that a senior official told congressional investigators that the two staffers have already been disciplined for their actions. (Read more)
Criminal Minds: The country’s top two Republican congressional leaders suggested Wednesday that the targeting of groups based on words in their names like “tea party” and “patriot” was criminal. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell questioned an inspector general report that found the IRS improperly singled out the groups, but that ineffective management was to blame. “If there was an effort to bring the power of the federal government to bear on those that the administration disagreed with in the middle of a heated national election, it actually could be criminal and we’re determined to get the answers,” McConnell said. House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, delivered some real tough talk, telling reporters that his question regarding the controversy “isn’t about who’s going to resign, but who’s going to jail.” Now where was this rhetoric from Republicans several years ago after Wall Street helped tank the economy? (Read more)
Shady Protections: After the controversy over the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of The Associated Press’ phone records, President Obama attempted to take a step toward mitigating the damage from the fallout by reviving his push for legislation that would add protections for journalists from having to reveal their sources in court cases. The White House has asked Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to reintroduce a 2009 media shield law that never came to a vote on the Senate floor. But as the Atlantic Wire points out, the shield law likely wouldn’t have prevented the DOJ from getting a subpoena to access the AP’s records anyway, nor would the department been forced to inform the news organization earlier of the subpoena’s existence, meaning it could actually benefit the administration as well. (Read more)
The Shrinking Deficit: The burgeoning deficit crisis that has been the focus of Washington as of late (well, at least before a slew of political scandals rocked the White House) may have been solved—at least for the next decade or so, according to new estimates released by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO’s revised forecast shows deficits falling faster and health care costs slowing at more accelerated rates than were forecast three months ago. The CBO’s revised 2013 deficit is more than $200 million lower than the one they put out in February, while the budget gurus also cut their prediction for the deficit over the next 10 years by more than $600 billion. “Add it all up and our 10-year deficits are looking downright manageable,” says The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein. (Read more)
Video of the Day: What’s going on with Bill O’Reilly and Bernie Sandberg? The conservative Fox News host and contributor agreed on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Tuesday night that President Obama could cure cancer and Republicans would still not give him credit. O’Reilly has raised eyebrows as of late by siding with the Obama administration on issues including the DOJ’s snooping on the AP, ostensibly because, as a paid host for the conservative news channel, he should be smearing the president, not supporting him.