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Smoking Gun in IRS Scandal?

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A routine White House photo is being circulated that some believe could prove or disprove Republican lawmakers’ theories that high-level politicos directed the Internal Revenue Service to target Tea Party groups in what has been called the IRS scandal.

Last week, chairmen of the House Ways and Means and the Oversight and Government Reform panels issued a statement saying that William Wilkins, the IRS chief counsel and an Obama appointee, appears to have known that a unit in the agency’s Exempt Organizations Division was sorting applications according to political rhetoric.

Conservative media such as The Daily Caller took the theory further with a July 22 piece titled "Embattled IRS Chief Counsel Met With Obama 2 Days Before Agency Changed Targeting Criteria."

On Wednesday, an IRS spokesman denied any involvement by Wilkins, speaking to the Huffington Post in a piece.

That same day, the trade publisher Tax Analysts located the official photo of Wilkins in the Oval Office in April 2012. Turns out he was there for a photo op with 13 other federal employees. You be the judge.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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