WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service named a new chief risk officer on Tuesday, appointing an experienced financial manager who acting commissioner Danny Werfel says will take steps to restore the integrity of the battered agency’s operations.
David Fisher will also serve as a senior advisor to Werfel.
Fisher was chief administrative officer at the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress that audits government programs. Fisher was in charge of all of the office’s internal operations, including its budget and financial management.
Before that, Fisher led a Defence Department effort beginning in 2005 to overhaul that agency’s business operations.
Werfel said in a written statement that Fisher will evaluate the agency’s operations “to mitigate risks and improve internal controls necessary for restoring the integrity of IRS operations.” He said Fisher will recommend any policy changes he feels are needed.
Werfel’s announcement, in a memo to agency workers, came with the IRS embroiled in controversy over its improper targeting of tea party groups seeking tax exempt status.
Fisher is also the author of a 2003 book “Optimize Now (or else!): How to Leverage Processes and Information to Achieve Enterprise Optimization and Avoid Enterprise Extinction.”
The book is still on sale on Amazon.com, where a description says he presents a framework “to ensure decisions are no longer based on ‘gut feel’ but rather on quantitative expected outcomes.”
A report this month by a Treasury Department inspector general criticized IRS management for not providing sufficient oversight for agency workers who evaluate applications for tax-exempt status. The report said that laxity contributed to workers screening for words like “tea party” and “patriots” in deciding which groups should be closely examined to make sure they were not participating primarily in political campaigns, which would disqualify them from tax-exempt status.