May 15th, 2013
10:30 AM ET
10 years 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. Locker

    Yea jc, we were all behind going to Afghanistan. We were NOT all behind going to Iraq to find non-existent weapons of mass destruction, waste billions of dollars, American lives and utterly destroy a country and it's people.

    May 15, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Fates Warning

    So, the guy in charge of the IRS is a Republican.
    Yup, lets blame Obama.
    Freaking idiots.

    May 15, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. LouieD

    Lead the way, Boner. Can you go to jail for dereliction of duty as a member of Congress? If not, let's make partisan stupidity a crime, lock him up, and throw away the key.

    May 15, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  4. tp

    Great idea Boehner, but let's worry about that after your greedy Wall Street buddies go to jail first for destroying our economy.

    May 15, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. reldra

    Ha. "Harass and hold up.."? That is Boehner's daily job. Now he is suddenly upset. Go cry to mommy.

    May 15, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Jimh77

    The entire IRS needs to be abolished, and those guilty need to be placed in Gitmo. Bone head can also join them

    May 15, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Skull And Bones

    I was 18 when the Word Trade Centers were attacked. Every single American was madder than hell and wanted to go to war. So all of you who say it was the Bush Administration who wanted/started this war, should really stop lying to yourself.

    Attacked by 19 Saudi Arabians.
    Bush let the Saudi family fly out of the country
    while the rest of the country was grounded.
    Bin Laden in Afganistan, and we attack Iraq ?
    You just don't get it, do you.

    May 15, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  8. RossOKC

    If holding up the government to cause the other party problems, then John Boehner, would get a life sentence.

    May 15, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. JJ

    It will be the IRS commissioner that Bush appointed in 2008, and who was there when this started. It was the GOP who started the persecution of the teagaggers. For good reason, IMO. Bunch of treasonous parasites.

    May 15, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  10. Hammerdog

    You, sir, are a very bad joke. You should have stuck with being a janitor! "...who's going to jail?", you ask. How about YOU go to jail, John? You have single handedly succeeded in mucking things up in congress (small "c" on purpose) for so many (read that WAY too many) years. You're childishly stubborn "Party of NO!" blatant obstructionism has been, and still is, a huge embarrassment to all Americans. Your goal of making Obama a one term president failed. So now you are going on an idiotic witch hunt regarding Benghazi? Anything to make Obama look bad. Do you have ANY morals at all? I sincerely doubt it. Go smoke a bunch of cigarettes. Better yet, retire.

    May 15, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  11. dc

    It is kind of funny to view all the Dem comments making Boehner the bad guy in this...... Unbelieveable spin! Kool-aide drinkers should be proud!

    May 15, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. dd

    This one is on Obama. Obama should go to jail for allowing political opponents to be prosecuted by his Administration.

    May 15, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  13. Kathleen Yack

    Really? He poses this question after all of the polls regarding gun and background checks goes down??!! He has ZERO credibility and yet he asks for that from those across the aisle! You just can't cure INSANITY!

    BTW, jc....You were way too young to understand thas what jwb did almost destroyed this country, sent us into a deep recesssion and created homeless population that had never been seen before. We've lost thousands of young men and women based on falseified reports of WOMD. My guess is that you are a FOX News watcher, which has been proven to be the least informed viewers. well, that sucks....doesn't it

    May 15, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  14. Ed

    Maybe the IRS should focus on all the folks getting defined benefit pensions that are larger than any salary they ever made!! 200m people stealing 50k a year is the same as 10m people stealing a million a year.

    May 15, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  15. Scott

    I'm skeptical that anyone deserves to go to jail. If Boehner wants people to go to jail for poor conduct, then he probably can don some jail stripes and start mopping the floors.

    May 15, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  16. Earthling147

    Everyone keeps blaming Bush and his administration for starting the Iraq War. I was 18 when the Word Trade Centers were attacked. Every single American was madder than hell and wanted to go to war. So all of you who say it was the Bush Administration who wanted/started this war, should really stop lying to yourself."

    Maybe if he had attacked the country where the hijackers actually came from, you might have a point.

    May 16, 2013 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  17. Dennis

    The level of partisan based moral relativism here is just dumbfounding. I am personally aghast at how quickly and easily people here can willfully turn a blind eye to a CLEAR pattern of power abuse. Forget republican or democrat, look at whats been going on for the past 15 not 4 or 5, the abuse of power in the name of maintaining political advantage or in the name of money or whatever excuse you want to use is beyond comparison in American history and had it happened 20 or 30 years ago would have ended this and the previous administration. Yet here you psycophants sit excusing or redirecting all blame on the other guy for completely irrelevant points. You who redirect this toward iraq or Bush should really take a look in the mirror and ask yourselves what exactly you are doing. What exactly do you think the point you are making is. That one moral outrage is an excuse for another? That one mistake excuses anothers abuse of power? That one abuse of power excuses another abuse of power?
    Have we really become a country that it means more to cover up your own mistakes by throwing accusations on the other guy than actually having morally and restrained leaders?
    Is what you see in the white house right now really worth your defense?

    May 16, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  18. Buddy

    Speaker Holder: what law has been broken which would cause someone to go to jail? Answer: NO law was broken.

    May 16, 2013 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  19. CaptiveAudience

    Who's going to jail? Probably the same people that went to jail after the financial industry tanked the economy.

    May 16, 2013 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  20. Hamburger Jones

    This is actually being done because the group "Tea Party Patriots" includes most of the sub-groups which consider themselves "sovereigns" who need not pay taxes to "King Obama." They aren't targeting Gay Pride or Women's Rights groups right now, because those groups are seeking legitimacy and legislated rights.

    But even though I can see their logic, I hate them worse than infected zombies, and this would be a good time to audit them the way they do us. Bend over and spread 'em, IRS.

    May 16, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  21. Dumbfounded

    Right after those responsible for the Great Recession. Your priorities are bass-ackwards Boehner and looking at needing a real job real soon.

    May 16, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  22. zappo15

    Boehner and his buddies are ruining the country and are proud of it. They feel they are the only real Americans. But next election a surprise awaits them.

    May 16, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  23. Anonymous

    @jc – "Everyone keeps blaming Bush and his administration for starting the Iraq War. I was 18 when the Word Trade Centers were attacked. Every single American was madder than hell and wanted to go to war. So all of you who say it was the Bush Administration who wanted/started this war, should really stop lying to yourself
    OMG! You were 18 and obviously weren't paying attention. The Iraq War had nothing to do with 9/11!! Get it!! NOTHING!!!! Do some research before you spout such nonsense.

    May 16, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. The REAL Truth...

    Based on what I see/read locally, there isn't a single "patriot" or 'tea" party group that is NOT engaged in political activity. My local one, whining in the morning newspaper today about be "harassed" and "targeted" by the IRS, most certainly IS engaged in political activity. They wonder why the IRS is requiring much more detail on their tax-exempt request?
    This "scandal" is a joke. The huge number of such organizations requesting 503(c) status is much about circumventing FEC laws and funneling $$ to the Republican party. I mean, think about it. It's not like the Tea Party can educate anyone!

    May 16, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. The REAL Truth...

    @Dennis – Is what you see in the white house right now really worth your defense?
    Absolutely! Why? Given the complete and utter hate coming from the right – the political parties, the sheeple, the right winf media, etc. – toward the POTUS, I will support him fully. The total lack of respect for the office and it's holder is outrageous. While I still believe Dubya was a blithering idiot, I still had respect for the office.
    The thinly veiled attempts by the Obstructionist Party to justify their (ignorant) calls for impeachment over these manufactured "scandals" is ludicrous and hypocritical. Did Obama's administration publicly mis-handle news on Benghazi? I believe so. Cover up? No!!
    IRS? Did Obama know about these groups being targeted? Not a chance. Those who think otherwise would educate themselves by getting off the shop floor and learn how upper management works. Your employers CEO (assuming you're employable) has no more idea of what you are doing day-to-day than you know what that CEO is doing!!
    The CEO (POTUS) has heads of Dept (cabinet) to keep them informed. Since the head of the IRS at the time of these events was a Republican, it's unlikely that even he knew about it. Had he done so, it would have come out long ago.
    There seems to be a total lack of logic and common sense missing from the arguments from the right.
    But according to Faux News that is all irrelevant. It's ALL Obama's fault. (again).

    May 16, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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