Former IRS Chief "Saddened" by Scrutiny of Tea Party Groups

Douglas Shulman testifies at the second congressional hearing on the IRS controversy.

Posted: 05/21/2013 12:54 PM EDT

Former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman is the latest person to claim little or no knowledge about the controversy in which the agency is now embroiled. During a hearing conducted by the Senate Finance Committee, the Associated Press reports, Shulman said he only learned all of the facts when a Treasury inspector general released a report last week confirming the agency had targeted certain groups.

He did, however, know that something was afoot in the spring of 2012, when he discovered that staffers were giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups and then brought it to the attention of the inspector general.

"I was dismayed and I was saddened to read the inspector general's conclusions that actions had been taken creating the appearance that the service was not acting as it should have that is, as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan agency," Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee, said in his opening statement of the details disclosed in the IG report.

The AP reports that before leaving office about six months ago, from 2011 through the election last fall, congressional lawmakers repeatedly asked Shulman about reports from Tea Party groups of political targeting, which his office denied.

The AP also noted a new poll by the Pew Research Center released yesterday in which 42 percent of adults said they think that President Obama's administration was involved in the targeting. Thirty-one percent placed the blame on IRS employees.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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