Monday, May 20, 2013


The White House on Monday once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation into its targeting of conservative groups — saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago.

Press secretary Jay Carney said again that no one had told President Barack Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department.

Monday's revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration's account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press.

Republicans said they were on the lookout for the next installment in the White House's ever-shifting narrative.

Here's how the White House account has evolved:

Friday, May 10: IRS official Lois Lerner disclosed at an American Bar Association conference that the agency had targeted non-profit applications from groups with tea party language in their name.

That afternoon, Carney said he didn't know when the White House first became aware of the investigation.

"I don't have an answer to that specifically," Carney said. "I know that when the IG began investigating it, that it's been investigating it for however long the IRS has said, but I don't have a specific answer to that."

Outside the White House, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that he'd first learned of the details of the investigation from news reports.

Monday, May 13: Obama, during his press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said he first learned about the IRS story from the press.

"I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this," Obama said. "I think it was on Friday."

Later in the day, Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler's office was told "in the week of April 22" that an inspector general's report was coming "involving the office in Cincinnati."

"But that's all they were informed as a normal sort of heads up," Carney said. "And we have never — we don't have access to, nor should we, the IG's report or any draft versions of it."

Tuesday, May 14: The inspector general's report was released, and Obama released a statement directing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to "hold those responsible for these failures accountable."

Wednesday, May 15: Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned at Obama's request.