U.S. President Barack Obama says he did not know about abuses by tax officials who targeted conservative groups until a report into the affair was leaked to the press last week.
During a White House news conference with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama said the minute he found out about it, his focus was about making sure the Internal Revenue Service problem gets fixed.
The president added he has complete confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder, who has ordered a criminal investigation into the matter.
Acting IRS chief Steven Miller was fired Wednesday because of the scandal. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that is an "important symbolic step," but a thorough investigation of IRS misdeeds must go forward.
Obama has pledged to make sure the IRS does not engage in partisan politics, and said he will work with Congress in an oversight role.
A report released this week by the U.S. Treasury's independent inspector general said ineffective management allowed IRS agents to improperly target conservative groups opposed to the Obama administration tax and budget policies.