A "pattern of incompetence" in the Obama administration led to the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups, Sen Rob Portman said.
Speaking to the National Review’s Robert Costa
, the Ohio Republican said, “An apology isn’t what people are looking for. I know they’ve disciplined some people at the IRS, but they need to take action.”
The comments came as the White House announced an investigation into the IRS's admitted targeting of tea party and other conservative groups that had applied for tax-exempt status going back to early 2010.
“The American people have been betrayed in fundamental ways by the most powerful agency in government," said Portman, who was George W. Bush's director of the Office of Management and Budget.
He suggested there may be a direct link between White House officials and the IRS actions.
“What kind of direction were these employees getting from the administration? It seems unlikely that people would target groups based on their ideology without some direction,” he said.
Portman told Costa that Republican senators on Thursday would release a letter asking the White House to provide details of its dealings with the IRS.
But for now, he said, talk of impeaching President Barack Obama is premature because a direct link to the president or his aides has not been established.
“But people need to know the truth,” he said. “There has been a pattern of incompetence.”
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