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Former IRS chief: Can't say how targeting happened

Tuesday - 5/21/2013, 2:30pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- He led the IRS at a time when it was giving extra scrutiny to applications from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status -- but Douglas Shulman is telling Congress that he knew little about what was going on.

Shulman told the Senate Finance Committee today that he didn't learn all of the facts until he read last week's report by a Treasury inspector general.

He says it's an issue that should have been brought "up the chain" to him -- and that he doesn't know why it wasn't.

Shulman left the IRS last November when his five-year term expired.

When asked today by Republican Sen. John Cornyn (KOHR'-nihn) of Texas whether he owed conservative groups an apology, Shulman said he wasn't responsible for "creating a list that had inappropriate criteria on it." He added that he regrets "very much" that it happened, and that it happened while he was commissioner.

Also testifying today was Steven Miller, who succeeded Shulman but was forced to step down as acting commissioner last week.

Their testimony drew skepticism from lawmakers from both parties. And Republicans openly rejected the assertion from the inspector general, Russell George, who said he found no evidence that the decision to target conservative groups was politically motivated.

%@AP Links

179-a-09-(Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, ranking Republican, Senate Finance Committee, during hearing)-"lie by omission"-Senator Orrin Hatch tell ousted acting commissioner Steven Miller he should have told lawmakers about the targeting when they asked about it. (21 May 2013)

<> 00:09 "lie by omission"

177-a-15-(Douglas Shulman, former IRS commisioner, testifying before Senate Finance Committee)-"it should have"-Former IRS Commisioner Douglas Shulman says he didn't have all the facts until he read the report by investigators. (21 May 2013)

<> 00:15 "it should have"

178-a-08-(Douglas Shulman, former IRS commisioner, testifying before Senate Finance Committee)-"I don't know"-Former IRS Commisioner Douglas Shulman says someone should have advised senior managers when the extra scrutinty was first discovered. (21 May 2013)

<> 00:08 "I don't know"

GRAPHICSBANK: Douglas Shulman, as former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, testifies before US Senate Finance Committee hearing on on IRS scrutiny of tax-exempt status requests, Washington, DC, graphic element on gray (21 May 2013)

APPHOTO DCCD314: Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller listens at left as former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testifies on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (21 May 2013)

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APPHOTO DCCD313: Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller listens at left as former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testifies on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (21 May 2013)

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