As congressional lawmakers prepare to delve into the IRS controversy, nobody knows where it will lead.
Scott County Republicans Vice Chairman John Ortega doesn't mince words.
"President Obama calls it a political circus, and he's the top clown in the organization," he said.
Lawmakers promise to dig deeply and get to the bottom of it. It's a scandal that could reach from the IRS to the federal government.
"I've got no patience with it," President Obama said recently. "I will not tolerate it. We'll make sure we find out exactly what happened."
For local Republicans, it's a stinging blow that represents politics at its worst.
"I don't care what party you're from," Ortega continued. "It's wrong to be doing what they're doing."
The situation reinforces a public distrust of government. Questions will be tough and brutal.
"It looks like it just stinks," said Sen. Charles Grassley, (R) Iowa. "The IRS' job is to collect money, not to be an instrument of political hacks."
There's a variety of political dilemmas left to ponder: How far does this go? Where does the buck stop? Who's really calling the shots?
"It is absolutely unacceptable for the Internal Revenue Service to have a political agenda," said Dr. Dan Lee, who teaches Ethics at Augustana College.
Dr. Lee says that it's important to follow through on President Obama's call for a thorough investigation.
"If the allegations that have been made are true, what has happened is completely irresponsible," he said.
It's just the start of a mystery in search of a solution.
"I think somebody should be held accountable," Ortega concluded. "A lot of somebody's, starting at the top."