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White House says not involved in IRS scandal


08:13, May 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Tuesday said it is not involved in the scandal that engulfed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as the agency's head tried to explain the situation.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney made the announcement during his regular briefing, saying "I am certainly not aware and am confident that no one here was involved in this."

Carney said Obama is awaiting a report from an independent inspector general on the scandal of IRS, whose employees had flagged groups with "patriot" or "Tea Party" for additional reviews to see if they violated their tax-exempt status.

"We haven't seen it, we don't have access to it," Carney said of the report, noting Obama will decide on how to respond to the issue after seeing the report.

The White House counsel's office was informed of the issue, Carney said. Obama learned about the case on May 10, the same day Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS's Exempt Organizations Division, acknowledged it in remarks to a conference of tax lawyers.

As the White House tried to steer clear of the scandal, Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, tried to explain the situation in an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today. He said the agency was simply trying to manage the explosive growth in applications for tax-exempt status of political organizations starting in 2010.

"The Internal Revenue Service recognizes that we should have done a better job of handling the influx of applications by advocacy groups," Miller wrote, denying that politics played a role in the targeting practice.

"Mistakes were made, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan motivation," he wrote. "We are -- and will continue to be -- dedicated to reviewing all applications for tax- exempt status in an impartial manner."

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