Bush Names IRS Commissioner

President Bush has picked aide Mark Everson as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, tapping a top manager from within the White House to head the nation's tax-collection agency.

Everson is a deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. During President Reagan's administration, Everson served in the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Justice Department and the U.S. Information Agency.

The nomination as IRS chief requires Senate approval.

Charles Rossotti, the previous commissioner, decided not to seek a second five-year term and left his post in November.

Everson also has served as controller and chairman of the President's Management Council.

He "has worked on government-wide financial management and technology issues and is well-qualified to take over management of the Internal Revenue Service," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Monday.

In addition to his government jobs, Everson was an executive of the in-flight catering firm LSG Sky Chefs, which has corporate offices in Arlington, Texas, and from 1988 to 1998 was with the aluminum producer Pechiney Group. He holds a master's degree in accounting from New York University.

He and his wife, Nanette, gave the maximum allowable donations to Bush in his 2000 presidential campaign, $4,000 between them. Nanette Everson is now a White House lawyer.

Advocates for taxpayers struggled Monday to discern what Everson's nomination meant.

Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union, called Everson "a blank slate."

"In tax policy circles, we can't say we've heard anything about him," Sepp said.

Fleischer said, "The position of IRS commissioner is not a tax-policy position; it really is a management position." Everson, he said, has significant experience in two critical areas at the IRS, financial management and technology issues.

Sepp said he was encouraged by Everson's management experience.

While IRS commissioners often come from within the agency, Sepp said that pattern was not necessarily healthy. "That has rarely worked out well for taxpayers," he said. Rossotti, the last commissioner, came from the private sector as founder of American Management Systems Inc., a computer services company in Fairfax, Va.

Everson should focus on further advances in tax simplification and taxpayers' rights, Sepp said.

Bush tapped Clay Johnson, the White House personnel director, to replace Everson at OMB. Johnson will be succeeded by his deputy, Dina Habib Powell, Fleischer said.

Top deputy Bob Wenzel has served as acting commissioner.