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House, Senate panels expand IRS scandal probes

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Senate,House of Representatives,IRS

Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that oversees the Internal Revenue Service, on Friday said the agency's involvement in the Tea Party snooping scandal proves it's so mismanaged that it needs significant restructuring.

"There are real problems there," said Baucus of the 90,000-staff agency. "It's tough to manage them all and it's not managed well and there does need to be significant restructuring in the IRS," said Baucus, whose committee is probing the IRS scandal and why the agency slowed the approval of tax exempt status to President Obama's political foes.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, who's panel is leading the House probe of the scandal, said that top IRS manager's claim that they didn't order the witch hunt of Tea Party groups "rises to the level of wrongdoing." He added: "I'm pretty angry about this and I'm not going to stop until I find out the truth."

Camp and Baucus appeared at a newsmaker breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor where they revealed that their committees are expanding the investigative dragnet beyond the top IRS management and the Cincinnati, Ohio office at the center of the story. They both said they are seeking more documents and interviews and that their probes will continue for months.

"We're going to get the truth and we're going to hold people accountable," said Camp.

Republican Camp went further than Democrat Baucus in blaming the administration for hiding the IRS scandal for nearly two years. "The IRS is part of the administration," said Camp, who's panel has been seeking information about IRS targeting of conservative groups since the Tea Party movement emerged. "There is a lot more work to do," he said. "This is more of a white collar approach."