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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid