WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday conceded that there is no evidence that President Barack Obama or the White House were involved in the IRS' targeting of groups affiliated with the tea party. The acknowledgement follows a week of strong insinuations that the White House used the IRS to intentionally intimidate conservative groups -- talking points McConnell reiterated when making his comments.
"There is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration," McConnell said on NBC's Meet the Press. "The IRS is just the most recent example."
"Do you have any evidence that the President of the United States directed what you call a culture of intimidation at the IRS to target political opponents?" host David Gregory asked.
"I don't think we know what the facts are," McConnell replied.
"That hasn't stopped you from accusing," Gregory noted.
"We're talking about an attitude that government knows best, the nanny state is here to tell us what to do and if you start criticizing, you get targeted," McConnell said.
McConnell was one of several Republican lawmakers to discuss the IRS controversy on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested strongly that the White House was involved in the scandal.
"This is rotten to the core," Ryan said on "Fox News Sunday." "This is arrogance. This is big government cronyism … To try and suggest that this is just bureacratic snafus, we already know that this is not true."
But later on "Meet The Press," Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) acknowledged that Republicans have no evidence that the administration was, in fact, involved.
"Two years ago the director of the exempt organization division knew of this. Did anyone up the chain know about it? We don't know that yet," Camp said. "We don't have anything to say that the president knew about this."