Ousted IRS Chief: Errors Not Caused By Politics

The ousted chief of the Internal Revenue Service is telling Congress that his agency made errors in targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, but he says the mistakes were not the result of partisan views.

In a prepared statement, former acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller was ready to tell the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday that the screening system agency workers set up was designed to deal with a growing caseload of groups seeking tax-exempt status. Miller said it was not due to "any political or partisan viewpoint."

He says that the IRS has instituted new processes designed to prevent the problem from occurring again.

Miller was testifying in Congress' first hearing into the targeting of tea party and other conservative groups by the IRS.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- As second top Internal Revenue Service official has announced plans to leave the agency amid the controversy over the targeting of tea party groups.

An internal IRS memo says Joseph Grant, commissioner of the agency's tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. Grant joins Steven Miller, who was forced to resign as acting IRS commissioner on Wednesday.

As part of his duties, Grant oversaw the IRS division that targeted tea party groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

Grant joined the IRS in 2005.

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President Obama says Steven Miller, the acting commissioner of the IRS, has resigned following revelations the IRS targeted conservative groups.

Obama says he also insists that safeguards be put in place to prevent reoccurrence of improper actions.

Obama has been under pressure to act in the aftermath of acknowledgement by top IRS officials that conservative groups were improperly singled out.

An investigation by a Treasury inspector general found that the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review tea party and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status.

Earlier in the day Attorney General Eric Holder said it will take time to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing in the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

But, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee today, Holder vowed: "Anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable."

Two conservative religious groups say they believe they were part of the IRS targeting too. The son of Rev. Billy Graham and leaders of the Jewish organization Z Street say that they have faced unusual scrutiny from the IRS. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Rev. Franklin Graham says charities built by his father may have drawn the extra scrutiny because they advocate against gay marriage and supporting candidates who oppose abortion.