Former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller faced a day of tough questions from lawmakers Friday regarding the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of the Tea Party and other conservative groups.
Speaking before the House Ways and Means Committee, Miller said the debacle was not political but rather a misguided attempt to process a flood of applications.
"I want to apologize on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the mistakes that we made and the poor service we provided," he told the panel.
"The affected organizations and the American public deserve better. Partisanship and even the perception of partisanship have no place at the Internal Revenue Service," he said.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are seeking to get to the bottom of the scandal and why the agency kept quiet about it, despite questions from Congress.
"Somebody made a decision to do this, and I doubt that it was some low level employees in the Cincinnati field office," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
Meanwhile, President Obama is continuing to do damage control. In a soggy White House Rose Garden press conference Thursday, he vowed those responsible will be held accountable.
"My main concern is fixing a problem," Obama said. "I'm looking forward to working Congress to fully investigate what happened."
But some conservatives blame the president and other leading Democrats for constantly attacking the Tea Party and other conservative groups.
Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel says the IRS simply followed the lead of the president since the tone is set from the top.
Now there's a new concern: Republicans are linking the IRS scandal to the implementation of Obamacare.
The IRS is tasked with administering the tax breaks and credits included in the health care bill.
"This is very troubling because the axiom is, 'The power to tax is the power to destroy,'" Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said.
The IRS official in charge of tax exempt organizations during the Tea Party targeting now runs the office in charge of Obamacare. Republicans are stressing that the IRS should have no role in Americans' health care.