Player of the week: Internal Revenue Service

It’s going to be a long week for the Internal Revenue Service.

The agency’s admission that for years it has improperly targeted Tea Party groups has drawn rebukes from congressional Republicans and Democrats, as well as President Obama.

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Investigations have begun, seeking to find out who knew what when. The IRS brass both apologized and pointed a finger of blame at low-level workers in a Cincinnati field office who homed in on right-leaning groups.

But there are many questions to be answered.

In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee last year, then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman assured Republicans that the IRS wasn’t singling out Tea Party groups.

He also said audits based on potential political activity had first to be approved by a committee in Washington of three career employees.

A dozen Republican senators sent a letter to Shulman last year noting that they had received complaints from organizations in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas about IRS enforcement methods.

On Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called for the resignation of Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, who was a senior enforcement official last year.

While it remains to be seen if Miller had knowledge of what was going on in Cincinnati, it is likely that some agency officials will be asked to resign over this controversy.

At a press conference on Monday, Obama said, “If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous.

It is contradictory to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable.”

Press secretary Jay Carney later on Monday acknowledged that the White House was informed in April that the Treasury Department’s inspector general was investigating the IRS’s Cincinnati field office. Carney said the administration did not have access to the IG’s findings.