Anonymous IRS official — everything comes from the top… McConnell: ‘There is culture of intimidation throughout administration’

A story in the Washington Post yesterday about the Internal Revenue Service’s Cincinnati office, which does most of the agency’s nonprofit auditing, clearly contradicted earlier reports that the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups was the result of rogue agents.

The Post story anonymously quoted a staffer in Cincinnati as saying they only operate on directives from headquarters:

As could be expected, the folks in the determinations unit on Main Street have had trouble concentrating this week. Number crunchers, whose work is nonpolitical, don’t necessarily enjoy the spotlight, especially when the media and the public assume they’re engaged in partisan villainy.

McConnell: ‘There is culture of intimidation throughout administration’

President Barack Obama’s team emerged on Sunday to defend his handling of revelations that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for scrutiny, as senior Republicans conceded they lacked evidence — so far — that the president directed the abuses.

Republicans appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit with hopes of sustaining their political momentum generated during this past week, one of the toughest weeks of Obama’s presidency. A series of controversies — that the IRS had targeted conservative groups, new questions about the administration’s response to last year’s terrorist attack in Benghazi, and news that the Department of Justice seized phone records of Associated Press journalists as part of an investigation regarding national security leaks — have forced the White House onto the defensive.


Sen. Portman: IRS will need special counsel

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Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Sunday said he believed a special counsel probe of the IRS targeting scandal would likely be “necessary,” but other lawmakers expressed caution, saying that Congress needed to gather more facts.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Portman welcomed an inspector general’s report and the launch of congressional hearings, but said there were still many unanswered questions.

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 White House aide: ‘Nothing that suggests’ IRS official at center of scandal ‘did anything wrong’

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