- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2013

A day after being called the president’s “paid liar” by House Government and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, White House press secretary Jay Carney Monday defended his public comments about the IRS scandal.

“I hadn’t heard that. That’s amazing,” Mr. Carney replied sardonically when a reporter asked him to respond to the California Republican lawmaker’s characterization. He added, “I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth with Chairman Issa.”

But Mr. Carney said he was only quoting from an independent inspector general’s report when he stated that the IRS‘ targeting of conservative groups appeared to be the conduct of rogue employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office. He said the IG “found no evidence that outsiders — those outside the IRS — influenced the behavior that took place there.”

“That is the conclusion of the independent inspector general, and we certainly have seen no other evidence to contradict that,” Mr. Carney said. “However, the president is interested in getting all the facts, and that is why he has instructed that the new leadership at the IRS conduct this review.”

Mr. Issa, who has led the Capitol Hill probes into the IRS and other administration scandals, blasted Mr. Carney on Sunday, calling him a “paid liar” who is not being truthful about the IRS’s targeting of conservative and tea party groups.

“Their paid liar, their spokesperson … he’s still making up things about what happened and calling this a local rogue,” Mr. Issa said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” gesturing to a photo of Mr. Carney on the set.

Mr. Issa’s committee provided CNN a transcript of an IRS employee interviewed under oath who said that it seemed as if the idea to single out conservative groups for additional scrutiny came from Washington. Mr. Carney and other administration officials have said local IRS agents in a single agency division were responsible.

“This is a problem that was in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters,” Mr. Issa said. “We’re getting to proving it.”

Mr. Carney said Monday the president wants all the facts to come out “to make sure that these kinds of things … can’t happen again.”

“We are interested in legitimate congressional oversight,” Mr. Carney said. “That’s an important component, in a situation like this, to finding all the facts and making sure that remedial action is taken. And as you know, there is a criminal investigation that is being undertaken by the Department of Justice.”

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