New IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who’s been on the job for less than two months, apologized today for the mess his IRS colleagues made when they helped President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign along by holding up conservative nonprofit groups ahead of the 2012 campaign.
While keeping his remarks general, Koskinen acknowledged to reporters that the scandal had caused “people” to “suffer,” and apologized before reporters after emerging from a grilling in front of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“It won’t happen going forward. And to the extent that people suffered accordingly, I apologize for that,” Koskinen said. He also pledged to cooperate with an ongoing series of Congressional and (nominally) criminal investigations into the scandal, although he wished aloud for the scandal to live only in the past as he settles into his leadership role.
After today, perhaps the White House will arrange a huddle with the Obama appointee to ensure everyone’s speaking from the same playbook. President Obama delivered a contradictory message three days ago when he sat down for a contentious interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, denying the IRS did anything malicious when it hit the Tea Party.
“There were some bone-headed decisions,” he told O’Reilly, hastening to add that there was, nevertheless, “not even mass corruption – not even a smidgen of corruption.”