May 15th, 2013
10:30 AM ET
9 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. Luterino

    Funny how this calls the GOP lawmakers to angrily protest and demand that the faulty party be sent to jail, but no call to send to jail the bankers and financial institutions and policymakers who plundered the wealth of millions of Americans from their lifesavings, from their homes, from their jobs, from their pensions, from the health, and from all their hard-work to carve a piece of the American dream so they can enjoy their later years of their life in some dignity and piece of mind. Nope, no call from Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and others to send to jail those that have brought great suffering and heartache to millions of Americans who witnessed with their own eyes the loss of all that they have built with their blood and sweat. I guess that isn't worth much in this country because no call to send those who plunder our nation to jail. Well, I guess that is the new American story...

    May 15, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Dennis Teffeteller

    The sad truth of the matter is that as long as all 3 branches of the government are being controlled by this corrupt administration, there is no way to expect an honest investigation that would include consequences. I saw a bumper sticker that read: I love my country but I fear our government. After the IRS and AP scandals came to light – the bumper sticker makes a lot more sense.

    May 15, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Duke

    OK, perspective people. I am a Dem but I know this. This was wrong. Illegal. But let us not jump on the rhetoric bandwagon and keep our heads.
    Tageting ANY group is wrong, R, D or T. If you have a legit reason to scrutinize, follow up, yes.
    But let us not make this yet another reason to go the extreme about everyone on the other side is always wrong again.
    Boehner, shut up unless you have something actually helpful to say.

    May 15, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Netmonger

    "My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?" Where was this outrage when the telco's got immunity after clearing breaking the law? Where was this outrage after Valerie Plame was revealed as a CIA operative? Where was this outrage when dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy was going on? Who went to jail over Iraq? Was this unethical? But what did the IRS actual do that was *illegal* here? Do they not have the right to investigate any claim? What do you expect when you form group after group disparaging the IRS and the government – insulting people just for doing their jobs, when you dont have any understanding how the system even works and why it is has complicated as it is, and then you have the audacity to apply to not pay taxes to the very same people you have been insulting?!? Hello!?!

    May 15, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. barry g

    Please no more about the birth certificate. You would think people got the message, but I guess not!!!

    May 15, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. allens

    we the people have asked that same question many times, who is going to jail. you know when you sent our troops to die in iraq and the proytracted war in afghanistan for nothing, when you knew it was staged evidence just a warped belief system the gave you the right to say the end justifies the means. you are an evil bunch and should look in to your own souls for once in your political lives

    May 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Drew

    Boehner should go to jail for his part in obstructing bills that would create jobs and help to stregnthen our infrastructure.

    May 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Paladin Knight

    Were there any IRS officials that went to jail when the IRS was targeting Progressive Churches or groups like ACORN? The answer is a big fat NO!! Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the Republicans are crying foul and want to overly punish anyone who steps on their puny little toes. How pathetic is that? The best part is it just may be possible that no laws were even broken.

    May 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Donnie the Lion

    Good question, because typically, a manager, director, CEO, etc. does not go to jail when an underling commits a criminal act, unless there is evidence the superior directed him or her explicitly to commit said criminal act. Not saying it never happens, but it is pretty rare. If Speaker Boehner holds his breath on this one, he might turn from orange to blue.

    May 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Who is going to jail? Maybe your pot smoking son-in-law.

    May 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. allens

    sorry i sent it in in error, what about the banking scandal that brought the poor and middle class to their knees, where were your calls for justice? you have zero credibility with the american people. you are not patriots or stateman, you are politicians.

    May 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Jim in California

    Why don't we start with Boehner himself, for gross dereliction of duty?

    May 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. allenwoll

    Let's cook up something - anything - to send Mr Boehner to jail !
    Oh, Happy Day ! !

    May 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Damian X

    Why the heck should Tea Party groups or half the nutty religions out there get tax exemption status anyhow. Boohoo .

    May 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. GB

    "Now, my question isn't about who's going to resign. My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?" Didn't Boehner say the same exact thing when a CIA agent was outted? No, he did not – which is why this is faux outrage and why Americans have such a low opinion of congress.

    May 15, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. JakeF

    When people go to jail for the Wall Street meltdown.

    /that's your answer Mr. Boehner

    May 15, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. jose 17

    Never mind who is going to jail, where are the jobs Boehner?

    May 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Damian X

    Apparently Boehner et al. weren't too concerned about sending any of the mortgage and bank crooks to jail when that hit the fan. Ah the irony.

    May 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. mickey

    who's going to jail?

    nobody on wall street.

    May 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. TomGI

    'Who is going to jail?'

    I vote for Ted Cruz, habitual liar.

    May 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Boehner should google the "Wounded Warrior Project" and look at the tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan war Veterans who's lives have been rouined with post traumatic stress syndrome, amputations and all sorts of mental, emotional and psychological problems. The very same Veterans who's Veteran's bill was vetoed by the GOPT for more tax breaks for the rich.

    May 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. daveinla

    Holder should be fired as AG over press spying scandal and the head of the IRS should be canned over this. OUTRAGOUS CONDUCT.

    May 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. markss1975

    Why didn't Boehner call for someone to go to jail when his part used the Department of Homeland security to raise the terrorist threat level in 2004 before the election? This isn't an accusation, it is FACT, from the mouth of the head of DHS Tom Ridge. Is the reason that Boehner wasn't calling for someone to go to jail because it would have been a friend of his, or the former vice president?

    May 15, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. futureman1

    Someone should go to Jail over this but others who should be jailed are Jeb Bush and John McCain over the Savings and Loan Scandal and GW Bush cabal over manipulating intelligence in 2002 & 2003. Also, end all tax exemptions for all of these Political organizations, left and right wing.. Tax exemptions should be for charity and business expense only!

    May 15, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. manhandler1

    The I.R.S is a Government Department under the Dept. of the Treasury. It's last director....Douglas Schulman, was appointed by Bush and was still in charge during the 2012 election cycle when the abuses took place. It is now under the supervision of an acting director.....why?....because the Republicans refuse to confirm anyone Obama nominates.

    May 15, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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