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Rubio calls for resignation of IRS chief over tea party scrutiny

Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday the head of the Internal Revenue Service should resign in the wake of reports that the agency has been targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The Florida Republican and likely 2016 presidential candidate wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demanding that Steven T. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, step down from his post.

"[I]t is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people's confidence under the current leadership," Mr. Rubio wrote in a letter to Mr. Lew that his office sent out to reporters. "I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS commissioner's resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public."

The IRS admitted Friday that some auditors gave heightened scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status from tea party and other conservative groups during the 2012 election season under then- commissioner Douglas Shulman, who left the job after the November election.

Mr. Miller then took over as acting commissioner.

Mr. Rubio, who rode in office in 2010 thanks in part to strong support from tea party groups, called the revelations "outrageous and seriously concerning" and a "direct assault on our Constitution."

The Republican said Mr. Lew should ensure that the Treasury Department’s cooperates with investigations as they look into the extent of the scandal.

"The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the administration," Mr. Rubio wrote. "If investigations reveal that bureaucrats or political appointees engaged in unconstitutional or criminal targeting of conservative taxpayers, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

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