A U.S. House subcommittee is investigating allegations of attempts to influence senior Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and six other cities, a panel aide says.

"The allegations of misconduct concern high-level people at district and regional office levels," Peter Barash, staff director of the Commerce Consumer and Monetary Affairs subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee, told the Lawrenceville-based Gwinnett Daily News on Friday.For seven weeks, subcommittee investigators and the General Accounting Office have been looking into charges of abuse by senior staffers in Los Angeles; Cincinnati; Newark, N.J.; San Francisco; Chicago; and Dallas, as well as Washington, Barash said.

The investigators also are trying to determine if top officials at IRS headquarters in Washington failed to act against senior regional officials who allegedly misused their authority, Barash said.

"We checked out some things and found out that the allegations appear at this preliminary stage of the investigation to be true enough to begin a formal investigation," he said. "It looks like some people, some top IRS senior staffers, were involved in misconduct, abusing of their power for private, personal gain or enrichment."