CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?
June 18th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?

Updated 8:01 a.m. ET, Tuesday, 6/18

Washington (CNN) – A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation.

Republicans argue that the Obama administration used the IRS to intimidate and harass political opponents. Democrats say poor management at the tax agency, rather than political bias, is to blame. Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, touting an independent IRS inspector general report, has said the scrutiny appears to have originated with "IRS officials in Cincinnati," where the agency's tax exempt division is centered.

GOP tries to keep focus on IRS targeting scandal

Last month only 37% of the public thought that the IRS controversy led to the White House, with 55% saying that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.

"Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement, and there is, not surprisingly, a partisan divide as well," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the Obama administration may be losing independents on this matter. In May, only 36% felt the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups; now that number has crossed the 50% threshold."

Fifty-one percent of those questioned said the IRS controversy is a very important issue to the nation, compared to 55% who felt that way in May. In the past week and a half, the IRS story has been put a bit on the backburner, as the controversy over the federal government's massive surveillance program has dominated the spotlight.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International June 11-13, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • IRS • White House
soundoff (726 Responses)
  1. Suemac in WA

    For those that say there's no evidence:

    Let the investigation continue. These things take time. Don't we want to know where this originated? This is not a partisan issue. It is a Constitutional issue.
    FORWARD with the investigation!!

    June 18, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. udidntbuildthat

    archerb-here has been no evidence linking this to the White House, nor has there been any evidence linking this to Obama's presidential campaigns (which seems more likely to me). However, there is no evidence that states that WH or the campaign was NOT involved either. Basically, we have no facts either way.
    __________________
    Have there been evidence linking Hitler to the holocaust? Please produce me the document where Hitler instructed his subordinates carried out the Holocaust. So if Hitler is responsible for the Holocaust, and u believe Hitler is responsible, then why isn't Obama responsible for the very agency, the IRS, that reports directly to him?

    June 18, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. BigWaveAlex

    Obama has all the government paid Obots out this morning. It means that he's extra nervous about this one.

    June 18, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Sean

    Be careful of how you comment. The NSA may track you down and hand your information over to the IRS to be audited.
    Of course, if all you do is sit home and collect welfare benefits and only leave the house to vote, then no worries.

    June 18, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. FLIndependent

    Since the Repubs didn't fulfill their goal of making President Obama a one-term president, their next goal is to tarnish his reputation as much as possible so that he'll leave with even lower ratings than Bush did in hopes that the next president will be one of theirs. They can't stand that the economy is turning around, housing is back, car industry saved and doing great, DOW at historic high so they have to keep us focused on this nonsense and CNN & the other corporate owned media outlets are right there to their bidding.

    June 18, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Jack in Ga

    Who else but the White House would be involved. The active discrimination against American Citizens based on their political beliefs (Conservatives) would only benefit the Democrats and Obama.

    Besides if the WH wasn't involved then as soon as the WH counsel was notified then they would have fired the people involved to keep suspicion from the WH. They didn't do anything which tells me that they knew and didn't want the IRS targeting to stop.

    June 18, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. alfred e newman

    Oh, com'on now CNN,,,,,,,,,,,,,, All of America knows it's way more than that.

    June 18, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Jay Beeman

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a damn duck! Knowing and being able to prove are two different things.
    The truth will eventually come out. It may take some time, but there are a lot of agencies, intities, and people looking at it now. Woe unto those guilty when the proof does surface.

    June 18, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. udidntbuildthat

    Obama is now shown as the most corrupt, incompetent Admin every in US history. Yet u can still tell his supporters, rabid and vile to the end, going down with a sinking ship.
    They are attacking Fox News the messenger even thought the facts presented by Fox are true and validated by even CNN.

    June 18, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    The number of low information Foxbot posters here is astounding.. 157 visits? Really? Do some basic research before parroting the right wing media... there were 11 actual visits of those 157 "authorized visits". Big diff. But then, the intent is to get the right wing all riled up with the "Govt Intrusion", "Big Brother SPYING on you", "Corrupt Administration", "IRS targeting Conservatives" garbage, so like good little lemmings they'll vote GOP mid-term and put the Obstructionist PArty back in charge.
    The average American can't even tell you whom the VP is, never mind make objective decisions about who will run the country best. They are predisposed to hearing what they want to and that is distrust of Govt, so it's ladled up 4 them.
    It's so sad, that these folks have no clue that they are being brainwashed.

    June 18, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. hammer

    The first time in my life that the Russian President looks like a stronger leader than the American President.

    June 18, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Willie K.

    ANY political group dumb enough to put their political party in the name of their application for tax exempt status deserves immediate denial. This is not in keeping with the purpose of laws allowing tax exempt organizations and anyone who believes these groups deserve to be allowed to launder dirty political money through tax preferenced status is way off base. Thanks, IRS, for doing your job!!!

    June 18, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. spawn44

    Another scandal for THE FOREIGNER is the 50% who don't believe there are any scandals.

    June 18, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. John Q.

    Who benefited the most by all this? Who gained by keeping it buried until after the election? How did it come to pass that many groups and individuals involved were hit up by more than just the IRS, but the NLRB, EPA, OSHA and more all at the same time? Coincidence? I think not, but a planned and coordinated effort to help ensure Obama's reelection by disrupting anybody that may seem in the opposition to their agenda. I cannot believe that powerful people within the WH were not aware, if not somewhat involved, from the Obama reelection campaign machine to including using the IRS union for help with a wink and a nod. This is an administration that goes to great lengths to know everything, monitor everything, stop leaks, control the message, and to an extent none have approached in the past. Yet, every time something like this comes up, the WH claims that they read it in the news when we did... puh-leeeze.

    June 18, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Ratt

    ezduzit757 said: "This IRS "scandal" is blowing over because there never was any "scandal" to begin with."

    Over 500 Conservative Groups are suing the IRS, Holder and Obama. You Sir, are a Liar, or a Paid Hack. Which one is it ?

    June 18, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. kgala

    The scandal began with the fradulant political applicants(TEAs) looking for tax exemptions. Which confused the IRS Cincinnati employees who then asked for help.

    Had the TEAs not decided to stick it to the taxpayers, none of the ensuing actions would have been necessary.

    June 18, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Oh For Pete's Sake!

    Let's look at one case.
    Obama made a televised speech to a Planned Parenthood rally 6 weeks ago PROMISING them that he would fight with them, and for them, against "dinosaurs from the 50s" aka Pro-lifers.
    And BINGO........................
    Right after that, the IRS warned Pro-life groups in at least TWO States NOT to allow their members to hold silent protests outside Planned Parenthood abortion clinics and NOT to speak out against Planned Parenthood abortion practices – or else!

    Now if you can't join the dots here...............of COURSE Obama not only knows but DIRECTS government offices to "sort out" his perceived enemies – enemies meaning anyone who disagrees with HIM!

    June 18, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Pete

    @jack,you must be conservative right bud..Why charitable organizations with names that scream politics in tea(taxed enough Already) party,patriot groups you'd think a 501(c)(4) is just a rouge to protect donors laundering dirty money through the republican election,campaigning process..And Issa after getting more info is quieter on this supposid scandal isn't he ,more a political witch hunt and republicans since Issas Fast,Furious have been on the losing end spending billions of tax payers dollars and Issa ,crew getting nothing in return,right!!Jack,I'd wish the republicans in both houses were as enthusiastic about creating jobs,infastructure bills helping America and its people as obstructing,filibustering those same bills and throw in the 38 times they've tried repealing the ACA bill as well...Republicans just don't get it that if they don't help their constituents in returning our economy to pre Bush era conditions with jobs and a thriving economy they'll be voted out at midterms and don't say we didn't warn these traitors in republicans because we sure as heck have!!

    June 18, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. FLIndependent

    @King – "the IRS is independent, and have way more conservative repubs than liberal dem. so why would a majority of conservative repubs target their repub friends without sounding the alarm. the reason is simply, they are doing their jobs. so get over it folks."
    ___________________________
    It has already been reported in the Orlando Sentinel for one that the head of the IRS division, who was a conservative Republican, did this so-called targeting along with a subordinate of his. This sensationalism by our media is killing this country!!

    June 18, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Matt

    @the REAL Truth. I find it interesting that you say "IRS targeting Conservatives" garbage, given that the IRS admits to targeting conservatives. The White House agrees that it happened. In fact, there really isn't anyone saying it didn't, the IRS and White House are just pleading incompetence on the issue.

    June 18, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Ancient Texan

    Who would benefit most from derailing the Tea Parties and Conservative election efforts? Obama, of course and he only had to let his wishes to be known... not in writing.
    ------------------
    Rep. Issa's investigation has already turned up the answers and solved the mystery. Someone confessed to it behind closed door testimony, but Issa does not want the testimony released publicly because it turns out that it was initiated by someone working in the IRS seeking to expedite right wing groups through the application process.

    June 18, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. wildcrzy

    No one has the guts to go after the nations first black president no matter how much evidence they uncover. Obama remains and is above the law.

    June 18, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    kgala

    The scandal began with the fradulant political applicants(TEAs) looking for tax exemptions. Which confused the IRS Cincinnati employees who then asked for help.

    Had the TEAs not decided to stick it to the taxpayers, none of the ensuing actions would have been necessary.
    -------–
    Classic Alinsky tactic – blame the victim. Stalin would be proud.

    June 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Dean

    hammer

    The first time in my life that the Russian President looks like a stronger leader than the American President.

    The Russian President also looks more honest, trustworthy and transparent.

    June 18, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Ancient Texan

    Who would benefit most from derailing the Tea Parties and Conservative election efforts? Obama, of course and he only had to let his wishes to be known... not in writing.
    ------
    Rep. Issa's investigation has already turned up the answers and solved the mystery. Someone confessed to it behind closed door testimony, but Issa does not want the testimony released publicly because it turns out that it was initiated by someone working in the IRS seeking to expedite right wing groups through the application process.
    -------–
    If it was done behind closed door testimony, how do YOU know about it? More speculation on your part again? Speculation that is, of course, slanted to your liking? No cred, dude... none at all.

    June 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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