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IRS chief wants scandal to fade

| Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service's new chief said on Wednesday that the tax agency needs to start moving beyond a controversy that erupted almost nine months ago about its scrutiny of a handful of conservative political groups.

In his first congressional appearance since taking the helm at the IRS in December, Commissioner John Koskinen said he will cooperate with the six separate investigations into the IRS' missteps last year. Koskinen, however, said he is eager to move forward.

“It doesn't serve my ability to manage the agency to go back in time and try to look at any particular aspects of the agency,” he told members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee in a hearing.

The worst IRS scandal in years burst into view in May 2013, when a senior IRS executive issued a public apology for what she called inappropriate scrutiny applied by staff to some organizations applying for tax-exempt status.

The organizations were mostly conservative, Tea Party-aligned, non-profit groups. The apology triggered furious accusations by congressional Republicans that the IRS targeted conservatives.

The acting chief of the IRS, Steven Miller, resigned. Public hearings were held on Capitol Hill, where current and former IRS officials were grilled by Republicans. The scandal is under investigation, though few facts have emerged in months.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of using the IRS to harass conservatives

Koskinen, 74, is a lawyer with little tax experience. He is known as a troubleshooter.

, he has promised that one of his priorities is to restore public trust in the IRS..

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