September 12, 2018 / 11:12 PM / 6 months ago

Senate approves Rettig to head Internal Revenue Service

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Donald Trump’s choice of Beverly Hills, California, tax lawyer Charles Rettig to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the federal agency that implements tax laws.

The Senate voted 64-33 to install Rettig, who will replace Acting Commissioner David Kautter. Kautter has been temporarily filling the post since last November when then-Commissioner John Koskinen retired after nearly four years in the job.

Trump announced in February that he was nominating Rettig to the post.

Rettig’s review by the Senate Finance Committee last summer was marked by Democrats voting against him to protest a U.S. Treasury Department decision ending a rule requiring some tax-exempt groups, including non-profits such as the National Rifle Association, to identify their financial donors to the IRS in confidential filings.

He also drew criticism for failing to disclose business ties to a Trump-branded hotel in Hawaii. Nonetheless, Rettig vowed to senators that he would lead the IRS in an independent manner.

Rettig told the Senate that his top priorities as IRS commissioner would be upgrading the agency’s technology and customer service. Once sworn in he will oversee the nearly 77,000 IRS employees.

Reporting By Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Susan Cornwell; editing by Diane Craft

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