IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who survived years of scathing criticism from congressional Republicans, will leave his post on his own accord when his term expires next month.
Koskinen was tapped by President Obama in 2013 to reform the IRS after the agency was accused of unfairly scrutinizing conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. Republican lawmakers have accused Koskinen of hindering their investigation into the targeting scandal and, as recently as last year, tried to force a vote on impeaching him.
Despite four years of budget cuts to the agency and long contentious hearings with congressional tax-writing committees, Koskinen said last week he is proud of his work at the IRS, particularly in improving customer service and running tax-filing season effectively year after year.
“I sign up for things where people say, ‘Why would you do that?’ I’ve done several of those,” Koskinen told reporters. “For me, what I’m really not interested in doing is something that’s safe.”
Koskinen said the IRS has implemented every recommendation from Congress and the inspector general’s office and hopes his successor is not “held up to public attack” in the same way that he feels he was. “Keep beating about the head and shoulders of federal employees which has gone on for a long time and you’re going to reap the rewards of that, and that is you will have very talented and good people who have an instinct to do public service, who are going to say, ‘I don’t know if it’s worth it.’”
President Trump hasn’t nominated anyone to replace Koskinen as yet, though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is said to be putting together recommendations. While a permanent replacement for Koskinen must be confirmed by the Senate, the president could appoint an acting head of the agency if necessary.