CORRECTION: This story originally stated that Lew learned of the IG investigation in the fall of 2012 while he was White House chief of staff. It appears to me that I misinterpreted what he said, and that he actually was indicating he learned of it in March 2013 as Treasury Secretary. He actually said, as you see below, that it was a “matter of public knowledge” in the fall of 2012, which I interpreted to mean that he had learned of it then. I apologize for the error.
Below is a newly edited version of the story, updated Friday, May 17 at 10:30 pm ET
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said today that he was aware in March 2013 of the Treasury inspector general probe of the IRS targeting of conservative groups, but he claims he did not know the details of the investigation.
However, it’s not clear what Lew means by “details,” and he was not specific on the extent of his knowledge.
Lew spoke during an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” which will air tonight at 9:00 pm ET. Lew said what he learned last fall was “a matter of public knowledge.” From a a transcript of the interview:
I think that there was – the heads-up that I got was something that was a matter of public knowledge. It was posted on the IG’s website in the Fall of 2012. I believe that other is typically the practice that an inspector general notify the agencies when matters are opened. I was not aware of any details.
Lew said he was made aware of the IG investigation in March – after he had become Treasury Secretary – during a getting-to-know-you chat with the IG, though again he says he was not apprised of details.
Instead, Lew said he was not aware of “details” until last Friday, when news broke of the IRS targeting of conservatives.