The White House has named a Treasury official to succeed John Koskinen at the helm of the IRS next month, while allowing the controversial commissioner to finish out his five-year term.
David Kautter will serve as acting IRS commissioner beginning Nov. 13, the last day of Koskinen’s term, the White House said.
“Assistant Secretary Kautter has had an illustrious 40-year career in tax policy, and I am confident that the IRS and the American people will benefit from his experience and insight,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, noting the Senate would still have to confirm a permanent commissioner.
The announcement came as the Trump Justice Department settled lawsuits with Tea Party and other conservative groups targeted for extra scrutiny by officials in the Obama IRS.
Koskinen was brought in to lead the agency in the wake of that scandal, but Republicans criticized him for an allegedly slow response. GOP lawmakers for months had called on Trump to remove Koskinen before the end of his five-year term.
In March, Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., and 53 other House Republicans penned a letter to Trump calling for Koskinen's ouster.
In April, then-Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and 37 other House members sent another letter to the White House calling for Koskinen to be "immediately removed."
The call from Republicans for Koskinen's early exit came after lawmakers accused the IRS of destroying evidence during the congressional investigation into whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative groups when applying for nonprofit, tax exempt status.
While Republicans wanted Koskinen out sooner, the administration drew praise from conservative groups on Thursday for settling the Tea Party targeting case.
“It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Thursday.
Court documents showed that the IRS offered an apology to conservative groups.
“The IRS admits that its treatment of Plaintiffs during the tax-exempt determination process, including screening their applications based on their names or policy positions, subjecting those applications to heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays, and demanding some Plaintiffs’ information that TIGTA determined was unnecessary to the agency’s determination of their tax-exempt status, was wrong,” the IRS said in court documents. “For such treatment, the IRS expresses its sincere apology.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.