22 May 2013

Top White House lawyer knew of IRS 'targeting'

The head of the Office of the White House Counsel knew last month that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service would likely show that agency employees improperly targeted conservative groups, a senior White House official has admitted.

White House lawyers under the microscope

President Barack Obama did not know about the issue until it was revealed by an IRS official at a conference of lawyers on 10 May, the same day the controversy became public.

Improper terms

However the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Office of the White House Counsel and its head, Kathryn Ruemmler, were told by Treasury Department lawyers in the week of 22 April that a report was nearing completion which showed some IRS employees used terms like ‘tea party’ and ‘patriot’ improperly.


The events have split opinion with some criticising the president’s management style and others praising counsel for not releasing the news while the investigation was still on-going.
Senior White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer said the matter ‘was handled in the exact appropriate way’ as the office should not be ‘involved’ in the investigation.