Republicans are looking to pin the blame for the Internal Revenue Service scandal over political targeting of conservative groups on Senate Democrats in key races.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) on Wednesday sought to highlight past calls from Democrats for the IRS to investigate the political activities of tax-exempt groups, arguing that set the stage for the recent scandal.

"Several of the Democratic Senators that are complaining about the IRS this week were pressuring the IRS to act on many of the same groups as recently as a year ago, even threatening legislative action against the agency,” said the NRSC in a statement. “Perhaps that's why so many are today trying to quell the storm by joining in the outrage.”

The IRS last week admitted to improperly targeting conservative groups seeking tax exemption, including those with the words “Tea Party” and patriot” in their names.

But the apology has not satisfied lawmakers, who are holding hearings on the matter and vowing to find those responsible. President Obama called the IRS actions “outrageous” on Monday and Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Juan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio) said he expected jail time for those found culpable.

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All have condemned the IRS's recent actions.

The NRSC, however, says those Democrats were “silent over concerns regarding potential political motives in the IRS audits,” when Republicans were sounding the alarm in years past over political bias at the nation’s tax collector.

The NRSC points to a 2010 New York Times story detailing Republican concerns over political targeting amid calls from Sens. Max BaucusMax BaucusLawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda White House tax-reform push is ‘game changer,’ says ex-chairman MORE (D-Mont.) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerFCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases Trump: Pelosi's leadership good for the GOP Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-N.Y.) for the IRS to closely scrutinize tax-exempt groups for political activity.

Seven Democrats wrote a letter in 2012 urging the IRS to more rigorously enforce regulations pertaining to nonprofit groups engaged in political activity. That letter's co-authors include Schumer, now-Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael BennetMichael BennetDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Trump welcomes Gorsuch on first Supreme Court visit Why higher education is in need of regulatory relief MORE (D-Colo.), and Shaheen and Franken, both targets of the NRSC attack.

Similar criticism has come from other Republicans this week, including from top GOP strategist Karl Rove.

"Maybe the low-level bureaucrats aren’t so low level and maybe they were influenced by Democrats in the Congress saying take on these groups or else you will face the consequences in front of us," he said on Fox News Wednesday morning.

Democrats fired back by pointing out that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOpioid crisis threatens GOP ObamaCare repeal Trump making calls to senators on healthcare bill Trump called Cruz to press him on ObamaCare repeal bill: report MORE (R-Ky.) has previously called for tougher IRS scrutiny for groups on both the left and right.

"No rational human being including Mitch McConnell thinks that Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers are operating social welfare organizations that deserve tax exempt status," said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky. "However, Democratic Senators have been outspoken in their condemnation of what took place at the IRS."

McConnell seemed open to tougher scrutiny of which organizations should get tax-exempt status early in his career, though the law has changed many times since then on political electioneering.

"There are restrictions now on the kinds of activities that, for example, 501(c)(3) and (4) organizations, charitable organizations, can engage in that are being abused — not just people on the right, but most of the so-called charitable organizations who are involved in political activity in this country, who are, in my judgment, involved in arguable violations of their tax-free status and violations of the campaign laws, happen to be groups on the left," McConnell said in 1987. "So that is a problem."