WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service was condemned by two West Virginia congressmen on Monday over reports the agency targeted conservative groups for political reasons.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said it cannot be tolerated and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-Va., called it a witch hunt and un-American.
Associated Press and other news organizations this weekend reported the IRS apologized for "inappropriate" investigations of conservative political groups during the 2012 election for violations of their tax-exempt status. The IRS this week will release documents showing it targeted tea party organizations and tax watchdog groups.
"The actions of the IRS are unacceptable and un-American," Manchin said.
Manchin called on President Obama to immediately condemn the action and fire those responsible.
"While we await answers from the Inspector General, there must be a congressional investigation to determine how this happened and to prevent this from ever happening again," Manchin said.
The president Monday said targeting conservative groups was outrageous. Obama said he will hold the IRS accountable if the reports are true.
Capito said the admission from the IRS was appalling and asked the president denounce the action, demanded an apology and called for an investigation.
"The agency's admission that they targeted groups for political reasons should put every American on edge. Our First Amendment rights are a foundational principle of American democracy, and this gross violation deserves to be fully investigated," she said. "Regardless of political affiliation, no American should be targeted for excising their constitutional rights. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get to the bottom of the IRS' wrong doings and I call on President Obama to immediately denounce their shameful actions."