New IRS chief apologizes to targeted conservative groups after House hearing

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The new head of the IRS has apologized to those who suffered because of the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, after he testified before a House subcommittee for the first time.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters after the hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee that the singling out of such organizations for special scrutiny would be “intolerable,” and vowed the IRS is not doing so now.

“It won't happen going forward,” Koskinen said. “And to the extent that people suffered accordingly, I apologize for that.”

Koskinen also expressed concern over the amount of time and manpower being spent by the IRS on the investigation into the scandal, calling the probe a “major drain” on resources.

“Which is one of the reasons I hope we can get to closure as soon as possible to get it behind us,” he said. “The facts will be what they are and we'll respond appropriately. But we have a lot of resources that we could actually put to productive use dealing with services to taxpayers."

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    Koskinen drew criticism earlier this week when he announced he was reinstating cancelled 2013 employee bonuses. Conservative lawmakers such as Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch questioned why an agency with employees who “inappropriately” targeted conservative political groups would reinstate the rewards.

    Obama nominated Koskinen, a retired corporate and government official with experience managing numerous organizations in crisis, to take over the IRS in August and he took over in December.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report