So, look, I was one of the people that sent a letter, in March a year ago, saying what's going on here? We're hearing from all of these consecutive groups. There seems to be targeting. There seems to be a problem. The IRS apparently took a look at it, responded to our letter, indicated that there was no problem. But unfortunately, they were informed of it. And within a week of our letter being responded to, they actually had a briefing, the deputy commissioner of the IRS, indicating that there were these problems. They never bothered to correct the record.
So now you have over a year later, finally the IG report out and them acknowledged it. So there's a real concern here.
Dave Camp just talked about, you know, basically putting politics ahead to get through the election. Maybe that was it. We don't know...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But senator, but there has been an investigation in the House has looked at it. You have said the IG -- have you seen any evidence that anyone outside of that Cincinnati office, and you're in Cincinnati today, gave any kind of direction, any kind of political direction to the office?
PORTMAN: Look, George, we just don't know. We do know that there was a California office involved. We do know that the Washington office was very involved. We know Louis Lerner was involved. So, it wasn't just the Cincinnati office.
I just find it very hard to believe that lower-level employees here in Cincinnati, Ohio took this on themselves. And that it went on for a couple of years without anybody knowing about it.
And, again, we have information now based on the IG report, that in fact the deputy commissioner of the IRS was made aware of this, at least on May 3rd, I would think before, because he asked his folks to go to Cincinnati to look into it in March of 2012. And yet they responded to a letter from congress not telling the American people about this a week earlier than that.
So, it seems to me that there's a lot of issues here we need to get bottom of. We need to find out what really happened and ensure that we can begin to regain some trust in our government. That's my concern.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Menendez, you just heard a call for a special counsel. Do you think that's necessary?
MENENDEZ: Well, I don't see it at this point.
And look, you know, even the chairman of the House oversight committee said you don't start accusing the IRS until you have an independent deep dive. And that deep dive what the inspector-general did. And since we have come to know what the inspector-general has said, heads have rolled. There's a new leader at the agency.
But I think there are two scandals here. And clearly what the IRS did in this regard is absolutely wrong and it's outrageous. It's a lack of management. And we should look legislatively as to whether we have to create any screens or filters that they look at in the future so that they offer more accordingly.
But there's second scandal, and that fact is, is that hundreds of millions of dollars had been used in C-4s that are supposed to be used a nonprofit social welfare entities for political purposes. And it's pretty outrageous that the IRS went after small Tea Party groups when Karl Rove is out there saying he's using these C-4s to change the outcome of the next election.
So I think both of those scandals have to be looked at.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Two scandals.