CINCINNATI -- Ohio's Republican U.S. senator is skeptical about President Barack Obama's suggestion that he hadn't been aware of IRS targeting of conservative groups.
Sen. Rob Portman told Ohio reporters in a conference call Thursday that questions had been raised more than a year ago.
He said that when asked about complaints of targeting, the Internal Revenue Service wrote to senators last year that proper procedures were being followed.
Portman says the apparent subjection of tea party and other conservative groups to extra scrutiny when they sought tax-exempt status is "deeply troubling."
He calls it overt harassment of groups because of political beliefs.
Portman says he also wants to know more about the roles of employees in the IRS office in his home Cincinnati area, where applications were reviewed.