John Koskinen was nominated to head the embattled Internal Revenue Service
by President Barack Obama on Thursday.
The 73-year-old Koskinen helped to overhaul mortgage buyer Freddie Mac after its near collapse in the financial crisis at the end of the George W. Bush administration.
Koskinen also helped restructure the assets of the largest failed life insurance company in U.S. history, Mutual Benefit Life, as well as reorganize the Penn Central Transportation Company after it became the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, the Associated Press reported
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In addition, Koskinen was also the deputy mayor and city administrator for D.C. from 2000 until 2003, and served as President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation from 2004 through 2008.
In the private sector, Koskinen was both president and chief executive for the management consulting firm of Palmieri Company, The Washington Post notes
"With decades of experience, in both the private and public sectors, John knows how to lead in difficult times, whether that means ensuring new management or implementing new checks and balances," Obama said in a statement obtained by the AP. "Every part of our government must operate with absolute integrity and that is especially true for the IRS. I am confident that John will do whatever it takes to restore the public's trust in the agency."
If confirmed by the Senate, Koskinen will replace acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.
Werfel, was selected by the president after the IRS’ previous commissioner, Steven Miller, was forced to resign following an inspector general’s report in May that revealed the agency had inappropriately targeted primarily conservative groups with extra scrutiny based on their political ideology.
One of Koskinen’s primary tasks if confirmed by the Senate will be to restore the public’s confidence in the IRS.
According to a Treasury Department official who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, the department had approached Koskinen about leading the IRS prior to the controversy, but he declined.
Koskinen apparently accepted after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew later approached Koskinen himself, asked him to reconsider in the wake of the problems the IRS is facing, the official source told The Post.
"Because John has a clear understanding of how to make organizations more effective and an unshakeable commitment to public service, he will be an exceptional leader who will . . . restore confidence in the IRS," Lew said in a statement, reported by The Post.
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said Koskinen would be "fairly and thoroughly considered" by the Senate panel.
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Hatch had apparently been caught off guard by the announcement, saying in a statement: "Given the magnitude of the scandal facing the IRS, I am more than a little mystified that neither the president nor the secretary of Treasury consulted with or told me in advance about this decision to select this nominee."
According to multiple sources who spoke with The Post, Koskinen has a reputation throughout Washington for being nonpartisan leader.
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