White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler intends to leave the administration by "the end of the year," press secretary Jay Carney confirmed on Wednesday.

Carney praised Ruemmler as an "enormous asset and a very important adviser to the president." He called her "one of the smartest people I've ever met and one of the best people I've ever worked with."

Carney said he had "no information" about the president's search for a successor.

As the top White House lawyer, Ruemmler advised Obama on a number of issues ranging from his decision to halt the deportation of some young illegal immigrants, national security law, and the Internal Revenue Service's political targeting scandal.

The IRS issue brought Ruemmler criticism from GOP lawmakers. Ruemmler had learned about the inspector general's report weeks before President Obama but had not disclosed the audit or misconduct.

Republicans questioned if the White House had failed to take steps to stop the targeting. The White House defended Ruemmler, saying that she had decided not to inform Obama to avoid charges of interference in an ongoing probe.

Reports said Ruemmler would seek a job in private practice after leaving her post.