Top White House aides, including chief of staff Denis McDonough, were informed of the forthcoming report on the IRS’ targeting of tea party group but decided not to inform President Obama in advance, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
Previously, the White House had said that the White House counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, had been told of the coming report from Treasury’s inspector general but no other aides had been mentioned.
The acknowledgement is not central to the question of whether the Obama administration knew far in advance about the misbehavior at the IRS, but rather raises questions about how the White House has managed what has emerged as the biggest crisis moment of the second term.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have quietly lamented that the White House didn’t move fast enough to condemn the actions at the tax agency. Carney defended the decision not to inform the president on Monday.