News / USA

US Official: White House Was Unaware of IRS Misdeeds

President Barack Obama and White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, right, react to a reporter's question as they leave the Treasury Department in Washington,  Jan. 16, 2013.President Barack Obama and White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, right, react to a reporter's question as they leave the Treasury Department in Washington, Jan. 16, 2013.
x
President Barack Obama and White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, right, react to a reporter's question as they leave the Treasury Department in Washington,  Jan. 16, 2013.
President Barack Obama and White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, right, react to a reporter's question as they leave the Treasury Department in Washington, Jan. 16, 2013.
Michael Bowman
A senior Obama administration official says the White House had no knowledge of misdeeds being committed by America’s tax collecting agency - one of several scandals engulfing the administration.  

The Internal Revenue Service has admitted to singling out conservative political groups for heightened scrutiny in recent years.  The IRS is a politically-independent agency within the Treasury Department, which is headed by a member of the president’s Cabinet.  And so the question arises: did the White House know of improper IRS behavior before an independent investigator’s report was released earlier this month?  

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer says no. “The first that the White House was made aware of it was from the Treasury Department a few weeks ago.  And not the details of what happened, not the results of the investigation, but that an independent investigation was about to conclude," he said.

Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation program, Pfeiffer said the White House had a hands-off approach to the probe. “You have a cardinal rule, which is you do nothing to interfere with an independent investigation and you do nothing to offer the appearance of interfering in an investigation.  So we, I feel like we handled this the appropriate way," he said.

White House assurances do not satisfy Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in last year’s presidential contest.

“What we do now know that, for roughly two years, the IRS was targeting Americans based on their political beliefs," he said. "So we are going to continue this investigation to get to the bottom of this: who knew [about the scandal]?  When did they know?  Why did they do this?  How high up in government did it go?”

Speaking on the Fox News Sunday television program, Ryan dismissed last week’s assertion by the IRS’ former acting commissioner that the targeting of certain political groups constituted errors and “poor customer service”.

“People deserve a government they can trust, that is honest, impartial.  To try and suggest that this is just bureaucratic snafus [mistakes] - we already know that that is not true," he said.

In addition to the IRS scandal, Congress has been probing the administration’s actions during and after last year’s attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including the ambassador, and whether the Justice Department acted properly in secretly seizing phone records form the Associated Press.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid