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More Obama aides knew of IRS audit; Obama not told

By Charles Babington

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior advisers knew in late April that an impending report was likely to say the IRS had inappropriately targeted conservative groups, President Barack Obama’s spokesman disclosed Monday, expanding the circle of top officials who knew of the audit beyond those named earlier.

But McDonough and the other advisers did not tell Obama, leaving him to learn about the politically perilous results of the internal investigation from news reports more than two weeks later, officials said.

The Treasury Department also told the White House twice in the weeks leading up to the IRS disclosure that the tax agency planned to make the targeting public, a Treasury official said.
The apparent decision to keep the president in the dark about the matter underscores the White House’s cautious legal approach to controversies and reflects a desire by top advisers to distance Obama from troubles threatening his administration.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney defended keeping the president out of the loop on the Internal Revenue Service audit, saying Obama was comfortable with the fact that “some matters are not appropriate to convey to him, and this is one of them.”

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