"We made some mistakes; some people didn't use good judgment," Lois Lerner, director of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, was quoted as saying by The New York Times. "For that we're apologetic."
Lerner said the action wasn't political, but rather a misguided effort to handle a surge of applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for "a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not under way at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views."
"We certainly find the actions taken, as reported, to be inappropriate," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. "And we would fully expect the investigation to be thorough and for corrections to be made in a case like this. And I believe the IRS has addressed that and has taken some action, and there is an investigation ongoing."