President Obama should personally apologize to the American people for the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for extra scrutiny, a Republican senator said yesterday.

“The president needs to make it crystal clear that this is totally unacceptable in America,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Collins’ comments came in the wake of revelations that upper agency officials knew about the problem two years ago.

The IRS apologized for the matter Friday, saying it was isolated to Ohio workers last year.

“I just don’t buy that this is a couple of rogue IRS employees,” Collins said.

“If it had been just a small group of employees doing this, it would seem that the higher level supervisors would have rushed to make this public, fired the employees involved and apologized to the American people and informed Congress,” Collins said. “That didn’t happen.”

The House Ways and Means Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have already announced their plans to hold hearings on the matter.

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