Washington (CNN) – As the Obama administration takes heat for the recent Internal Revenue Service controversy, the House Republican campaign arm is making sure some Democrats in Congress face pressure, as well.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is rolling out a slew of web ads, calling on House Democrats to condemn the IRS' targeting of conservative groups that filed for tax-exempt status in the last few years. However, a number of the targeted Democrats have issued such statements.
"The IRS has clearly overstepped their boundaries, and it's time for these House Democrats to denounce their behavior and call for action," NRCC communications director Andrea Bozek said in a statement. "These Members know better than to allow this type of constitutional affront to occur, and their silence is offensive to their constituencies and to endless groups across the country."
In addition to over-scrutinizing applications from conservative groups, the IRS deliberately delayed processing those applications and requested unnecessary information, according to a copy of a report by the agency's inspector general obtained Tuesday by CNN from a congressional source.
Democrats need to gain 17 seats in 2014 in order to retake control of the House. The IRS story, as well as simmering headlines over the U.S. diplomatic post attack in Benghazi and the Justice Department's monitoring of AP reporters' phone calls, are all firing up the GOP base a year and a half before the mid-term elections.
The NRCC web ads target 11 Democrats that represent competitive Democratic districts.
"IRS caught using politics to target Americans," one of the ads reads. "Tell Nick Rahall to speak up." Readers can click on a link that takes them to a fundraising page for the NRCC.
Rahall, however, did speak up Tuesday in a statement after the Justice Department announced it was launching a criminal probe of the issue. While he approved the move, he said it wasn't "enough."
"Congress has a responsibility to serve as a check on the Executive Branch and must ensure that any abuses of the public trust receive open scrutiny," he said. "I urge the Administration to cooperate fully as Congressional hearings get underway. Law and tax enforcement must be above reproach and beyond partisan accusations. If violations of the law occurred, the appropriate officials must be held accountable."
Another one of the targeted Democrats, Rep. Scott Peters of California, also fired off a statement Tuesday.
"If these reports are true, the actions are outrageous, unacceptable, and completely inconsistent with the high standards of fairness Americans deserve from their government," he said.
Republicans aren't the only ones blasting the IRS for their review of conservative groups. Rep. Sander Levin, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday in an interview with CNN that the incident "should never have happened."
"(The IRS) made serious mistakes. They should have let us know what was going on," the Democrat said. Levin, along with committee chairman Dave Camp, scheduled a hearing for Friday, and they're both calling for further investigation into the matter.
Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Carl Levin, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have also criticized the IRS and vowed to investigate the issue. And President Barack Obama also condemned the actions taken by IRS employees.
"If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it," Obama said Monday.
Those on the list of targeted Democrats in the web ads also include: Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, Bill Enyart of Illinois, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Rick Nolan of Minnesota, and Pete Gallego of Texas.