President Obama and his team are looking to move past last week's parade of scandal stories, but it won't be easy.
WhiteHouse senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer hit the talk show circuit Sunday, butfaced more questions about the Internal Revenue Service than about theeconomy and national security, and Republicans made clear they won't letthe issue fade away.
Pfeiffer said the White House did not knowabout IRS targeting of conservative groups until it was recently alertedabout an on-going Inspector General investigation.
The IRSadmitted May 10 that it had a separate process for reviewingapplications for tax-exempt status submitted by groups with "Tea Party"and related terms in their names. In some cases it also sent intrusiveand inappropriate questionnaires to those groups. The inspector generalissued a report about the matter last week.
Calling IRS actions "outrageous and inexcusable," Pfeiffer told ABC's This Weekthat the administration would work with Congress on "legitimateoversight" - but "what we're not going to participate in is partisanfishing expeditions designed to distract from the real issues at hand."
Regardlessof when the president first learned of the investigations, Pfeiffersaid, the president wants to ensure such activities were not repeated."It was stopped and it needs to be fixed to ensure it never happensagain," Pfeiffer said.
But NBC's Meet the Press, Pfeiffersaid Republicans are trying "to drag Washington into a swamp of partisanfishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations."
Republicans,meanwhile, are gearing up for more congressional hearings, trying tofind out if any high-ranking Obama administration or campaign officialsknew about the targeting of conservative groups.
"This is just the beginning of this investigation," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Fox News Sunday.
SenateMinority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told NBC that the recentallegations reflect a "culture of intimidation" within the Obamaadministration.
"What we're talking about here is an attitude thatthe government knows best," McConnell said. "And if we startcriticizing, you get targeted."
The Senate Finance Committee hasscheduled a hearing Tuesday featuring the first appearance by former IRScommissioner Douglas Shulman since the scandal broke.
The HouseCommittee on Oversight and Government Reform plans a hearing Wednesdaythat is scheduled to include Shulman and Lois Lerner, director of exemptorganizations for the IRS. Lerner is the official who first announced10 days ago the targeting had taken place.
In his string of Sundayinterviews, Pfeiffer noted that Obama has installed a new temporarydirector of the IRS, and authorized a 30-day review of agency operation.He told Fox that there will be "a top-down review of the IRS, andeverything will be looked at."
That's not sufficient, said Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, appearing on ABC's This Week. "I think a special counsel is going to wind up being necessary," he said.
AsObama tries to move past the scandal, his schedule this week includes ameeting with the president of Burma, a speech on counterterrorism, and acommencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Contributing: Associated Press