Presidential motorcade arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave after church and before swearing in ceremony
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- In Washington, holding people accountable often means who knew what and when.
White House Spokesman Jay Carney admitted on Monday that the White House General Counsel's Office was notified three weeks ago of "a review about matters involving the IRS office in Cincinnati."
That review was being conducted by Treasury Inspector General, J. Russell George, and he testified Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee.
"Was the IRS using inappropriate criteria in its review of organizations applying for tax exempt status? Yes," said George.
George told the committee that he had not told top Treasury officials about those conclusions before the scandal broke, but he had told them that a review was ongoing. The same goes for the White House General Counsel's Office. But Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton, says simply knowing that such a review was happening should have been enough to take it to the President.
"This is not a normal story. This is the IRS. This is a nuclear story," said Davis.
Davis says several reporters told him that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler knew about the Inspector General's review and didn't tell the president. In an op-ed out Friday, Davis said she should resign if she knew about IRS abuses.
"I say this respectfully, but she is just wrong for the job. She's thinking too much like a lawyer," said Davis. "She doesn't have the political ear and the media ear, if she doesn't think it's important enough to go to the president and say, 'This might happen. Let's get ready."
Davis calls it a failure of crisis management that's typical of this administration, from Benghazi to the IRS.
"This is what brought Richard Nixon down. It's called abuse of power. It's a criminal offense. It is very, very serious. And for that reason alone, the president should be given a heads up that something might be coming that is that serious," said Davis.