May 15th, 2013
10:30 AM ET
11 months ago

Boehner on IRS Scandal: 'Who is going to jail?'

(CNN) – The admitted targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status is grounds for some Internal Revenue Service employees to lose their jobs, House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday.

"The IRS has admitted to targeting conservatives, even if the White House continues to be stuck on the word 'if,'" Boehner said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "Now, my question isn't about who's going to resign. My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?"

"There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse," Boehner continued. "Someone made a conscious decision to harass and hold up these requests for tax exempt status. I think we need to know who they are, whether they violated the law. Clearly someone violated the law."

On Tuesday a report from the inspector general responsible for the IRS stated that lax oversight at the tax agency led to the targeting of tea party and other conservative groups who were applying for federal tax exempt status.

Asked after Wednesday's press conference what specific crimes Boehner was alluding to, an aide to the House speaker cited the illegal targeting of groups and the IRS's sharing of confidential information with the news organization Pro Publica, which said this week the agency shared conservative groups' applications for tax exempt status.

Obama first spoke on the controversy Monday, saying reports the IRS targeted the groups were "outrageous" and that there was "no place for it" in his administration. But he said he would wait for the official IG report to be released before demanding any action be taken by the Treasury Department.

After the report was released Tuesday, Obama released a statement saying 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 ordered Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to ensure that each of the inspector general's recommendations are implemented soon, "so that such conduct never happens again."


Filed under: IRS • John Boehner
soundoff (725 Responses)
  1. Amazing

    Will someone remind the speaker that every american is entitled to a due process of law under the 5th amendment. I guess he stopped reading after the 2nd amendment! Based on the known facts, I believe the algorithms used were really a bad judgment call. The senior leaders who were briefed and failed to inform Congress are the ones who may be subject to criminal proscuetion.

    May 15, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Lisa P.

    Let's send John Boehner to jail, as long as we're not bothering with any of the pesky legal stuff like figuring out which (if any) law was broken, investigating to find out who was really involved and to what to degree, and going to court to prove guilt in public with evidence to a jury of twelve. I think John Boehner would be an excellent scapegoat - that's what the Republicans are looking for, isn't it? They certainly aren't looking for justice or anything close to it, just a quick emotional response and as many political points as can be scored. We can stone him until we all feel better. It will make a great story on Fox News, fabulous visuals.

    May 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. DB

    Of course the mainstream media and Obama directed what they wanted to be shown to the American Public. It DID affect the election, along with obvious Democratic Voter Fraud. I mean come on, how can you have more than 100% voter turn out from registered voters in any location and common since will tell anyone with an ounce of brains that in any election, nobody gets 100% of the votes. It did in the major states that is for sure and that is coming out now. Look at the Democratic voters of Chicago, not only do they vote in Illinois but they vote in Minnesota too! Not only that but they receive double welfare aid, one from Illinois and one from Minnesota. Heck, they make more money in Aid than I made any year since I started working in 1964! I work my butt off while they sit on theirs. Am I mad, you bet I am because I am supporting at least one other family that hates me because I am white and a Republican. I an only happy that the clock is ticking until this façade of a President ends his term in office. The fear is that we will never see another Republican President in my life time, not until the USA goes bust and we start all over after a complete collapse of the life we have known.

    May 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. roro

    Who's going to jail for lying about WMDs and getting us into war with Iraq? Who went to jail for illegal wiretapping? Is Karl Rove going to jail for lying about his PACs and getting tax exemptions and hiding the identity and contributions of his donors? Who went to jail for all the times (54?) that our various embassies were attacked during the Bush administration, and there were almost no Congressional hearings? Get rid of the disgusting Citizens United and these things won't happen. We need campaign finance reform, once and for all, so there's no more buying votes and elections.

    May 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. iceload9

    Total banking implosion – no jail sentences. But today someones going to jail. What a joke.

    May 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. jrumor

    hopefully the people going to jail are those who claim they are 'social welfare groups', but really are political groups

    May 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. strgzer585

    So, delaying (not refusing) the applications of groups for tax exempt status (essentially making them the "takers" we are always hearing so much about) is something that Boehner believes is a criminal act deserving of jail time, but delaying the progress of the entire country for the past 5 years is just fine.

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Sniffit

    Right...totally appropriate to comment like that on an ongoing DOJ investigation and not at all an attempt to give the MSM a red meat partisan politicized soundbite to slobber over. YAWN. Who went to jail when Dubya targeted the unions, NAACP and a liberal church? Which GOPers/Teatrolls in office now demanded it then such that they can claim their poutrage isn't faked, but consistent with their own past behavior?

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Bill

    No one is going to jail. Going to jail would be the end result of someone being convicted of a crime. Not the case here. Get over it.

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Goblin King

    @MrBeenThere

    S"o my question to you Mr. Boehner, there are laws to what you are doing to this Nation. Some would call what you and the TEA/GOP are doing acts of terrorism deliberately trying to destroy this country's government and it's democratically voted leader. "

    So now asking questions or being opposed to this administration is doing acts of terrorism. Wow, this country really has become a totalitarian police state.

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Anonymous

    The same people who went to jail when Wall Street nearly collapsed the US economy. Those are the people who will go to jail........

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Who's going to jail? Like always, some low level grunt will get paid off to fall on his or her sword.

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. bracesforimpact

    When did the bankers go to jail?

    May 15, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Ginger

    If Boehner hasn't gone to jail for dereliction of duty as speaker, I doubt if anyone deserves to.

    May 15, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. geggyg

    Yes right wing groups were probably singled out for extra scrutiny to get tax free status, and it was probably a form of profiling because of certain words in their PAC title , but no group has come forward and stated that they were denied registration , so despite extra scrutiny no group was disadvantaged. Now Boehner wants IRS employees to go jail for the so called , I hope Boehner starts to demand jail mayors/police chiefs /police officers for advocating profiling of blacks and latinos when it has been many of those profiled have been when stopped ( simply for asking why they were stopped) or detained and arrested because they didn't look they belonged in a particular area or were driving an expensive ( these police don't think blacks and latino can be successful and own a nice house or expensive car unless they are drug dealers ). Common Boehner show your revulsion of profiling in all cases , not just when it affects white republicans .

    May 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. al

    Boehner.....irrelevant and weak as ever. When are we going to get a real leader in Congress. Pelosi, who was lousy, was better than Boehner.

    May 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. roro

    Who's going to jail for lying about WMDs and getting us into war with Iraq? Who went to jail for illegal wiretapping? Is Karl Rove going to jail for lying about his PACs and getting tax exemptions and hiding the identity and contributions of his donors? Who went to jail for all the times (54?) that our various embassies were attacked during the Bush administration, and there were almost no Congressional hearings? Get rid of the disgusting Citizens United and these things won't happen. We need campaign finance reform, once and for all, so there's no more buying votes and elections. And lest we forget, what about all those CEOs who brought our economy to its knees and are still getting golden parachutes? How many of them are in jail, or have to return the money they stole from the citizens?

    May 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. The Bane R

    Mr. Speaker: There were no WMD and trillions were spent and thousands died. Who's going to jail?
    Mr. Speaker: Bankers walked away with untold billions of assets lost. Who's going to jail?
    Mr. Speaker: Oil spilled on land and at sea and millions of organisms died. Who's going to jail?
    Mr. Speaker: Halliburton siphoned untold $ to/through/from Iraqi/Afghani middlemen for which the average person got no benefit. Who's going to jail?

    I could go on. Sadly.

    May 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. PuzzledInPeoria

    When thousands were killed and maimed in Iraq for a war started with lies, who went to jail?

    When greedy bankers and hedge fund managers crashed the economy in 2008 and caused the loss of trillions in personal and retirement savings, who went to jail?

    When Richard Nixon ordered the burglary of the Watergate then lied about it, who went to jail?

    When Congress stole from the Social Security trust fund, who went to jail?

    May 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. ME

    We're still waiting for the Wall Street execs who stole all our money in 2008 to go to jail.

    May 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Still working

    The IRS can single handedly ruin anyone or any business. They also leaked the victims personal information to liberal groups. Remember Harry Reid's tax return claim on the senate floor last election? Sounds like he had insider information to me. Someone better fry for this and it better be someone at the top.

    May 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Ed - NH

    boohoo! Guess what?! No one cares! It's like the Benghazi thing...give it up already! Regular, normal, non-6 figure middle class folks that don't wear tin foil hats sitting under a bare light bulb waiting for bad ol' gumbit to come get their guns, Do Not Care! In addition, it seems to me this is the correct course of action by the IRS. These anti-gov't groups should be watched more closely.

    May 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. pogo9304@yahoo.com

    Oh well so goes the republic. If anyone deserves time in the pokey, never mind. When I see ol weepies picture I see gross incompetence, tragic malevolence and ritual racism. The fact that not one person has been charged or tried for anything certainly prejudices any jury I this country. Either his comments are foolish or some deeper creeping political cynicism.

    May 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. RESISTANCE

    Deport Obama's black ass to Mexico and he can take Hillary and Holder with him. These three are nothing more than fancy pants criminals doing everything they can to undermine the US Constitution.

    May 15, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. JK-MN

    It's too bad that the Congressional leadership doesn't go to jail for direliction of duty.

    May 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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