WASHINGTON – White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told "Fox News Sunday" that President Obama learned about the Internal Revenue Service targeting Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status only after it had come out in the media but that the administration would make sure “it never happens again.”
Pfeiffer defended Obama’s statement that he didn’t know anything about the incidents or the investigation until he heard about them in the press.
“No president would get involved in an independent IRS investigation,” Pfeiffer said. “It would be wholly inappropriate.”
Wallace asked if Sarah Ingram, the IRS commissioner who once oversaw the division that processes tax-exempt applications and now tapped to oversee the new tax laws in ObamaCare, would be pulled from the spot given the recent scandal. It is not clear when Ingram stopped being the head of the tax-exempt office or how active her role was there while she was implementing ObamaCare.
“There will be a 30-day review and everybody who did anything wrong will be held accountable,” Pfeiffer said, adding that Ingram was never named in the inspector general’s report on the scandal.
Joseph Grant, the official who succeeded Ingram, announced Thursday he would be retiring after being on the job for a week.
The IRS actions and allegations have brought anger from both parties, with Obama calling it “outrageous” and promising change.
Pfeiffer, who made the full round of Sunday talk shows, continued the calls for change in an effort to calm growing frustrations over a series of scandals that have rocked the White House this week, including claims of political intimidation, stepping on the constitutional rights of the media and backpedaling on what the administration knew about the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Democrats have long said the GOP is trying to keep the Benghazi attacks in the spotlight to discredit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 presidential bid.
Last week, more than100 pages of government emails and notes in the Benghazi investigation were released.
The documents show that State Department officials repeatedly objected to and tried to scale back references of involvement by Islamic extremist groups and prior security warnings in the administration’s initial internal narrative of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Pfeiffer told Wallace the emails were doctored and given out to the press. He added that the talking point references were changed by the CIA and not the White House and said Republicans should be more focused on trying to find the culprit than blaming Obama.