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Claude Nolan
May 192013
 

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week, White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the legality surrounding the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue service is “irrelevant,” but called the behavior “inexcusable.”

“I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant. The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed so we ensure it never happens again,” Pfeiffer said.

Stephanopoulos asked Pfeiffer if he really thought the law is “irrelevant.”

“What I mean is, whether it’s legal or illegal is not important to the fact that the conduct doesn’t matter. The Department of Justice has said they’re looking into the legality of this. The president is not going to wait for that. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again, regardless of how that turns out,” Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer also insisted President Obama didn’t find out that the IRS was targeting tea party groups until last week, when the scandal went public.

“The deputy secretary of the Treasury was made aware just of the fact that the investigation was beginning last year but no-one in the White House was aware,” Pfeiffer said, stressing that Obama was not involved in the scandal.

“Don’t take my word for it,” he said, “take the word of the independent Inspector General who said that he found no evidence that there was any influence from anyone outside of the IRS.”

Several Republicans are not convinced.

“The IG report was an audit, it was not an investigation,” noted Republican congressman Tom Price of Georgia, also appearing on This Week.

“This is just the beginning of this process and we need to get to the bottom of it, we need to find out who made those decisions, hold them to account and see how high up the chain it went,” Price said.

Senator Rob Portman is among the Republicans calling for a Special Counsel in the IRS scandal. The Ohio lawmaker wrote a letter to President Obama wanting to know what if any private pressure was exerted by the White House on the IRS regarding standard for approving and monitoring tax exempt organizations. Portman also appeared on This Week.

“It seems to me that there’s a lot of issues here we need to get to the bottom of, we need to find out what really happened and make sure we can begin to regain some trust in our government, that’s my concern,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jul 312012
 

(WASHINGTON) — After lampooning Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer last week for getting his facts wrong on the controversy surrounding the White House Winston Churchill bust, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer has apologized.

On Friday, Pfeiffer slammed Krauthammer for repeating “this ridiculous claim” that President Obama had removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British Embassy.

It was later discovered, as ABC’s Jake Tapper reported, that there are actually two Winston Churchill busts. One was loaned to the George W. Bush administration and later returned when President Obama took office, the other now resides in the White House.

“I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology,” Pfeiffer wrote Krauthammer. “There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post.”

Here is Pfeiffer’s full apology:

The Churchill Bust & Charles Krauthammer

Yesterday following his column, I sent the following email to Charles Krauthammer. Charles asked that I make the email public and I have agreed.

Charles,

I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the Bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office — was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false.  The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his Administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.

A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation.  Having said all that, barring a miracle comeback from the Phillies I would like to see the Nats win a world series even if it comes after my apology.

Thanks,

Dan Pfeiffer

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio