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. J

    There is a big difference between Wall Street bailout and the IRS scandal. Although they caused a massive global problem, Wall Street was not doing anything illegal, therefore, you obviously cant imprison someone, no matter how much you liberals want to just because you hate capitalism, it wouldn't hold up in a court of law. Now, there are laws on the books that are supposed to keep the IRS (A Government Agency, not publicly held company) impartial that were obviously violated. What happened to Obama saying "when it comes down to it, I am in some way responsible" and "I will have the most transparent admin in history" Wake up, your savior is nothing more than a Chicago thug politician, and you got hustled. PS- The Bush blaming makes you look like an ignorant 5 yr old.

    May 15, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. laguna_greg

    Boehner and company are just really upset that their income- and voter-base are threatened. heck they should be barking about why that contractor for the RNC didn't go to jail in Florida for committing voter fraud many times, all documented.

    May 15, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. sammy zoso

    Does the NRA qualify for tax exempt status? If so why? If they have not been targeted for investigation they would be since they are nothing more than the p.r./marketing arm of Guns Inc.

    May 15, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Mac

    Someone can go to jail over this when someone goes to jail for the 2008 CRASH OF THE WORLD ECONOMY. But since Bankers are too big to fail, jail and otherwise than its i guess the IRS people can slide too ...

    Perspective, its needed.

    May 15, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. John

    He Is An Republican, they think their above the LAW!

    May 15, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. brad

    Again, one wonders how people this stupid are elected to office over and over again?

    May 15, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. MaryM

    Who is going to jail, you Boehner, thats who

    May 15, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. KitVA

    advocatusdiaboli said: "They DO NOT have the right to target investigation based on the politics of groups. Clearly not legal. any more than targeting all black businesses for audits would be. Funny how liberals are so defensive of the very abuse they accuse the GOP of. Hypocrites all nd why conservatives don't like big government—absolute power corrupts, absolutely."

    Actually with a 501(c)(4) organization they SHOULD be looking it in if its name or actions indicate a political agenda. 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations are not allowed to function primarily as political organizations or for the betterment of their membership. The primary spending of these groups must be towards social welfare (not in the form of political lobbying) and can not generate profit for its membership. If either of these are violated these groups lose their 501(c)(4) status.

    Sounds like politically motivated groups were audited to determine if they were compliant with the restrictions in place for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations.

    May 15, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Jo

    My gosh you obvious partisans. I am independent and this NEEDs to be dealt with. Washington is corrupt and there is going to be even more that comes to light when this administrations Chicago style politics are unearthed

    May 15, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. NameRolph

    I would suggest the we send Mr Boehnr to jail for crimes against common sense and intelligence as we as illegal suntanning

    May 15, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Howard

    More concerned why no one went to jail when Matt Tillman and Sgt Maseth were murdered by Halliburton.

    May 15, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. laguna_greg

    So, some of those hundreds of millions of dollars that got spent on the last presidential election were not tax exempt? But should have been?

    Boy, I just find it hard to get excited about that. Boehner must feel really threatened.

    May 15, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. Linda

    Start at the top, Obama needs to go to jail, then Holder and H. Clinton.

    May 15, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Linda

    Then shut down the crooked unions and the democrat support it provides.

    May 15, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Buckaroo Bill

    Wall Street nightmare, Benghazi murders, AP phone bugging and the IRS targeting so who is the captain of this mess?

    May 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. sd vidiot

    It is unclear that a crime has been commited. It seems like these political organizations were trying to sneak out of paying taxes by applying for tax-exempt status based on their service to the community. The IRS was trying to determine what service they were providing. If you look at the examples these Tea Party groups were including in their applications, statements like -" make America better" stick out. It's not like they were giving soup to the homeless or prostheses to wounded veterans. The IRS was likely within its jurisdiction to ask more probing questions and give more scrutiny to these applications.

    May 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. gb333

    If they unfairly scrutinized right wing groups based on their own political opinions but only tried extra hard to find something that was actually wrong then they did nothing illegal and a call to send them to jail is purely political.

    Now, I think they should be fired. But a call for jail time is flat out ridiculous.

    May 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Linda

    The wall comes tumbling down on the Obama Administration and their insane agenda!

    May 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. oreo

    It is no surprise that IRS employees have some the highest back taxes due. Standard Operating Produre for a despotic, tyrannical regime. Sure go after groups that want to limit the madness. The level of thuggishness is greater than even the Bush admin. Why is it that neoLiberals never comprehend that Big government can come back to get them too. Conspiracy theories are not just theories anymore, people ought to go to jail.

    May 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. sly

    Where is His birth certificate? This President is not really American – you can tell by his accent.

    And since he is not totally white, I demand to see His birth certifiate.

    This IRS story is no surprise, because I haven't seen his birth certificate. I am Tea Party member and proud of it.

    May 15, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Capiers

    As much as I agree that the IRS is completely out of line and should be held accountable, I have to bring up the elephant in the room. Why are we not holding our politicians to the same standards. They allow for themselves to be controlled and manipulated by wealthy corporations who have no intent on doing what is best for this country. After we are done cleaning house in the IRS we need to focus on congress.

    May 15, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. ohiopgr

    Boehner is so pathetic. Why doesn't he go after the Banking CEO and their corruption – isn't their enough evidence for convictions – guess they must be bank rolling Mr. Speaker. Sad politician Mr. Boehner.

    May 15, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Christopher

    Not one person in congress should cast a stone about people losing their jobs or going to jail. If we go down that road, I think they would be first in line.

    May 15, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Name

    I say stop tax exemption for all organizations, including: Churches, Mosques, ACORN, Planned Parenthood, Synagogues, Buddhists and Sikh temples. No tax exemptions for ANY organization, period. That would bring this whole issue of government on either side using tax exemption as a means of controlling these organizations.

    May 15, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. maximusvad

    Boehner should be first in line for prison.

    May 15, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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