Asked if he can assure the nation that no one in the White House knew before last week that some IRS personnel had singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny during the 2012 campaign cycle, President Obama said Thursday afternoon that, “I certainly did not know.”
“I promise you this,” Obama added, “that the minute I found out … my main focus was to get the thing fixed.”
Wednesday night, the White House announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and accepted the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller. That news came the same day that a Treasury inspector general reported that the IRS had “used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.” The report blamed “ineffective management” for allowing that targeting to happen.
Word of what the IRS did has prompted sharp criticism from Republicans.
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Obama spoke during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting the White House.