An Internal Revenue Service review of the agency's approach of scrutinizing conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status questioned the now-controversial policy a year ago, according to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spokesman Ali Ahmad.

IRS officials briefed House and Senate committee staffers on the matter on May 13, the day before the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration released his report describing the decision to single out groups with phrases such as "tea party" and "patriot" in their name as "inappropriate."