Obama: IRS actions are 'intolerable and inexcusable'
May 14th, 2013
08:49 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama: IRS actions are 'intolerable and inexcusable'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold accountable those who made mistakes in the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of conservative groups.

The president released a statement Tuesday night firmly condemning the IRS' action after a report from the agency's inspector general found that the IRS used "inappropriate criteria" to identify potential political applications and then forwarded those applications to a team of specialists for review.

The report found that the criteria resulted in substantial delays in processing of applications and the request of unnecessary information about the groups.

Saying he's "now had the opportunity" to look at the report, Obama said the findings are "intolerable and inexcusable."

"The federal government must conduct itself in a way that's worthy of the public's trust, and that's especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity," he said. "This report shows that some of its employees failed that test."

Obama has ordered Lew to ensure that each of the inspector general's recommendations are implemented soon, "so that such conduct never happens again."

"But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong. Public service is a solemn privilege," the president said. "I expect everyone who serves in the federal government to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards. So do the American people. And as president, I intend to make sure our public servants live up to those standards every day."

His statement goes further than his comments on Monday about the issue, in which he said "if" personnel "in fact" did what the IRS admitted it had done, then their mistakes would be considered "outrageous."

See the full statement below:

I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable. The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.

I’ve directed Secretary Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again. But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong. Public service is a solemn privilege. I expect everyone who serves in the federal government to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards. So do the American people. And as President, I intend to make sure our public servants live up to those standards every day.


Filed under: IRS • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. g

    what are these groups worried about ,what are they hiding .they sure want to put the brakes on

    May 14, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Larry L

    The Republican agenda is only about conspiracies and attempts to discredit the President. They don't work on jobs, environment, homeland security, Social Security, or Medicare. They simply look for anything about our government they can distort into a crisis and try to get a right-wing "special investigation" going. It's unpatriotic and borders on domestic terrorism – like the American Taliban.

    May 14, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. Stand with Rand

    With obama you have to think exactly oppisite of what he is saying then your somewhere near the truth

    May 14, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. DENNA

    Oh, put a sock in it. If this were Bush, you'd all be polishing his boots – with your tongues. GOPer doing anything to waste time instead of putting this country back to work.

    May 14, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. Ed1

    You could say the same thing about the AG's office too and why don't you.

    May 14, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. LaVonna

    How dare they compare Obama to Nixon. Obama is 100 times worse than Nixon ever thought about. The House and Senate should impeach Obama NOW FOR TREASON. Every time he opens his mouth it is another lie. Hillary should also be removed from office as she also LIED. Her husband was impeached for lying. We do not need dishonest people leading our Nation. IRS is going to be running our healthcare!!!!! Good luck on that one.

    May 14, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. that oneguy

    Employee's do as their "LEADERS" tell them to. It is not as if this is the first time the Obama administration has gone against current laws. It feels, very the much the "same" and normal....kinda sad***blows dust of from the book Animal Farm***what do I know anyways (puts head back in sand)

    May 14, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  8. Mssimmons42

    Impeach the Republicans they just passed a bill to stop over time pay and have refused to raise min wage for 12 years refuse to fund job bills that would build the superfast railroad that would put over 10,000 people to work and cut the use of oil and bring down gas prices what have the Republicans done accept Rinse Repeat Rinse Repeat the Obama side show

    May 14, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. davsan

    It will be the biggest mistake they make going into a 2016 election.

    May 14, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. Larry L

    I'm clearly missing something... If the Tea Party parades around with signs declaring how much they hate paying taxes why wouldn't they be targeted to see if they're cheating? If they were promoting acts of terror wouldn't the F.B.I. give them a hard look? Tea Party members advise people to boycott the federal tax system. Would those people cheat? Hell yes!

    May 14, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  11. Ed1

    How low can you go this is another reason we don't trust our Government like we needed anymore reasons.

    May 14, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  12. Name willard

    I think obama make trouble blame on IRS

    May 15, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  13. Catmandew

    Obama should remember he ordered this junk. It's all his fault he always seems to forget he ain't in Chicago anymore. This would be normal business there!

    May 15, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  14. TomInRochNY

    Okay, he waited for the facts to be known before passing judgement. Then he acted appropriately to resovle the situation. The Republicans should be happy with him now. I won't hold my breath.

    May 15, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  15. Name lynn

    Them irs people always taking our money saying we old them. do the people really old the irs, did the irs cheat people making them pay for ther mistakes. What going to happen to the irs people now.

    May 15, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  16. sifto

    American liberals silent?

    May 15, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |