May 13th, 2013
12:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: Alleged IRS political targeting 'outrageous'

Washington (CNN) - President Obama vowed Monday to hold the Internal Revenue Service accountable if reports of political targeting are proved true.

"If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it," Obama told reporters.


Filed under: IRS • Tea Party
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    These sham tax exemptions by the teaparty political group should be not allowed. Sence when is the teaparty an educational group ,unless you count its brain dead gop hillbilly members ????

    May 13, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Ed1

    Here is another reason not to trust our Government.

    Go to flat tax rate and get rid of most of the IRS.

    May 13, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. jpmichigan

    Wasn't the IRS breaking the LAW? If so they (those who encouraged such actions should be punished by the courts? As an American tax payer, I question, what is really going on with this administration, what else is there that hasn't yet come out? First Benghazi, now the IRS, what else is there?

    May 13, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. Data Driven

    I realize the urge for my fellow liberals is to gleefully demand that freeloading "tea party" groups pay their taxes like everyone else, but I'd pause before succumbing, if I were you. Consider how conservatives would use this weapon against us and our organizations. If a precedent like this is allowed to stand, the USA becomes a banana republic with more nuclear missiles and fast food restaurants than the global norm.

    May 13, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Sniffit

    Haha..."target" implies a focus that's not broad. This gets any broader and "targeting" won't be applicable. Of course, the GOP/Teatrolls are blatantly "targeting" Clinton in the manner they are abusing their power and holding show-trial hearings with respect to Benghazi, so whatever. They'll do the same here and Red State, World Net Daily, Drudge, Breitbart and Faux News will all get together around the bonfire and fabricate stories about how a fairly broad attempt to use particular language to identify potential trouble applications for 501(c)(4) was really a massive conspiracy to attack the Teatrolls. They love nothing better than fapping to a good persecution fantasy.

    May 13, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. rs

    In a way this is sort of funny. I mean really who would expect anti-tax groups not to be given higher scrutiny by the agency that oversees taxation and revenue? Would we expect the same by agencies that oversee public health with owners of restaurants that advocate non-USDA approved food, or anti-worker/anti-union groups and the department of labor, or people who advocate discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity, or groups that advocate no vaccinations being looked at by the CDC?
    At the end of the day, the anti-tax people qualified, and got their tax-exempt status, so, what? This is what we expect government to do- to ensure everyone plays by the rules that work best for us all.

    May 13, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. rs

    Go to flat tax rate and get rid of most of the IRS.
    Just another tax holiday for the rich- no thanks.

    May 13, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    This is troubling, especially for anyone who has worked for a non-profit advocacy group. As much as I want groups that are simply astroturf operations for wealthy donors to be scruitinized, politicizing the IRS even more than it has been in the past is very disturbing. Groups that try to get people regsiterd to vote could be targeted, or environmental groups: the list of potential targets grows. The methods used to screen these applicants is troubling, since its a violation of free speech, and could easily be turned on liberal groups once the next GOP president is elected. The people screaming the loudest on this, like Sarah Palin, already have a history of using the machinery of government to settle scores: can you imagine what a rightie with a grudge would do as payback on this? Think about it.

    May 13, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "If a precedent like this is allowed to stand, the USA becomes a banana republic with more nuclear missiles and fast food restaurants than the global norm."

    That's ok. Most of the Teatrolls think the founding fathers were Ronald Reagan and Ronald McDonald anyway.

    May 13, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. rs

    Wasn't the IRS breaking the LAW?
    No, they were doing their job. In the end the ANTI-TAX groups met the qualifications and got their tax-exempt status- not a one was denied. Wouldn't you want a federal employee to maybe pat-down an airline passenger that said they were against the TSA, or the regulations for boaring aircraft? Or maybe have a Highway Patrolman do a more thorough check of someone who said they didn't believe in traffic laws? Same with the TEA Party- they're against taxes, and we seeking not to pay taxes. I'd sure want check them twice.

    May 13, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Al-NY,NY

    more cries of victimization from the right.......too bad. deal with it

    May 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Pete

    IRS under Bushs guidence targeted union employees nation wide in an attempt to bust up unions and under his watch IRS hired another 50,000 IRS employees just for that reason ..All the while giving tax breaks unfunded mine you to his wealthy elitists like Romney,Adelson and others..Truth hurts but trust me the IRS is as crooked as ever with the help of Bushs agendas of the past not being squared away!!

    May 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. much thunder..little rain

    make tax code simple there is no need for irs ...

    May 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Mikey

    @The Real Tom Paine – Agreed. The IRS should use appropriate scrutiny for all applicants, period. I believe that most of these groups were applying for 501c4 status, which does not allow for charitable status (tax deductible donations), but only as a non-taxable association. It should require a lower standard of scrutiny than a 501c3 applicant. I suspect the IRS targeted these groups because they tend to be anti-IRS. This is unacceptable and heads should roll for this – and not just the lower level scapegoats who usually take the fall, but right up to the highest level that orchestrated or tolerated this behavior.

    May 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Why is this any great surprise? I am sure that there were less reported incidents of this happening when George W. Bush was in office as well. How many employees were doing this? How many employees are in that unit? These need to be stated so we can get idea of how large that percentage is. If it is one group under one supervisor, then there would be limited impact other than paranoia.

    May 13, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    This sounds like an effort to move approvals of groups to the front of the line to me, so that they could function as an active organization, instead of waiting in limbo for the applications to be approved, which I'm sure they would have complained about.

    May 13, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Bill from GA

    The IRS has a reputation for 'taking shortcuts'.

    For years, anyone claiming the (legal) home-office deduction was allegedly red-flagged for closer scrutiny. Some accountants even recommended not claiming the deduction to avoid the attention.

    This is only a problem when it offends republicans looking to embarrass the President.

    May 13, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. CJ

    Someone should lose their job. Second is maybe the President wasn't privy to what was going on but it just goes to show that the President is not running this anti-party pony scheme, and we should really consider whom among the ranks gave the order to ask these questions at the IRS, and how long this as been going on. I am willing to bet it was put in place long ago. Just a different set of questions.

    May 13, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    The problem is that, for every attempt made to reform the tax code and for people to lend their support to groups that advocate on issues, there will be attempts to get around the system. Simply saying that we need to abolish the IRS is pointless, since the only alternative would be massive sales taxes that would effectively wipe out any gains made by eliminating income taxes. The fairyland that people across the politcal spectrum have about getting something for nothing makes for a myriad of exceptions like these 501 organizations. I have no problem with the Tea Party groups doing what they do, but to screen them on the basis of words in their literature places them in the same category as the FBI watch list is wrong, period. It could also be flipped on Liberals as well, as already has in the past. Can you imagine a conservative president as paranoid as Sarah Palin, smarter, and with a desire to get back at liberal groups based upon this?

    May 13, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw, Well,
    They say the Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions. Giving the Federal Government the authority to tax may have sounded like a good thing at the time, but has not exactly worked out so good. That along with giving irreresponible people the right to vote has created the 17 Trilloon Dollar Federal Debt we now "Enjoy". This little "Firestorm" will blow over in no time and we will be lulled to sleep until the next one arises. That one may be the extra money they take out of your Pay Check, if you have a Pay Check, to pay for Obama Care. Don't look at your Pay Check too closely and you will be OK.

    May 13, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Hagedus Bronseon

    tea party groups tax exempt? my aunt fannie, they deserve scrutiny

    May 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Anthony Richards

    Of course these criminal acts were not politically motivated and of course King Obama had no knowledge of the activities. Well, I can sort of buy the second part since he seems to know nothing no matter what the subject.

    May 13, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. TLWiz

    Newsflash: The government is corrupt and misuses power. Another newsflash: The government has been corrupted by big $$$ lobbyists and these same people now want to be tax exempt. So the corrupt government has offended the corrupt lobbyists. Our system has been very broken for a while and the Supreme Court rulings allowing unlimited anonymous money to be pumped in to poilitics has driven the final nails into the coffin of corruption. The right and left are both corrupt and destroying the country.

    May 13, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "It should require a lower standard of scrutiny than a 501c3 applicant. "

    Not even close. 501(c)(4) is the section that PACs and other dark money groups are hiding behind so they can keep their donors names' secret while still getting tax-exempt status DESPITE BLATANTLY ENGAGING IN POLITICAL ACTIVITY...lobbying, campaigning, donating to campaigns, etc. It's legalized money laundering. They deserve the highest and most thorough scrutiny because their abuse of their tax-exempt status is rampant.

    May 13, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. wyattbuchanan

    1. IRS... no senior management involved.
    2. Fast and Furious... no senior management involved.
    3. Benghazi... no senior management involved.

    What exactly is the "senior management" of the Obama Administration doing with their time? Wake up America! Your government is either asleep at the switch or they know EXACTLY what they are doing and they have an agenda. It's either that or this is the mos...t massivley incompetent administration ever with the IRS, Justice and State Departments of the Federal government running around doing whatever they want with no accountability to anyone. The last I checked these are all cabinet positions and report directly back to the president. To say that no senior management is involved strains believability to the breaking.

    The alternative scares me to death.

    May 13, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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