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. Joe

    This is laughable. A few people were a few weeks delayed in getting to falsely claim the Tea Party is a Charitable Organization, when it obviously is not.

    May 15, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. republican circus side show

    the irs should have been doing this to conservative and religious groups long before now, 99.9%of these groups should not be considered non profit because they are political in their ideas and teachings.

    May 15, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. jimmy

    Ain't nobody going to jail. The state-run media will cover this up nicely. Obama will become the victim and everyone will live happily ever after. It will all blow over by the weekend.

    May 15, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Dude

    Meanwhile the government feels up old ladies and young kids to protect us at airports while leaving a diplomatic "mission" unprotected in a moslem country full of loose weapons right after a revolution.

    Then lies about the killings right before an election by stating the killers were upset at a movie

    May 15, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. mpouxesas

    Hey Bohner, not who, but WHEN is dubya, cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowitz, ashcroft, etc, are going to jail (and no trial necessary...we know they are guilty as sin).

    May 15, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Linda

    If the tables were turned, the democrats aka low information voters, would be throwing a fit!

    May 15, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. us_1776

    A: Tea Party tax scammers.


    May 15, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Charles C

    ".....the members of the ways and means committee whose job it is to oversee the IRS?"

    Fine, but if they go, the entire IRS, all of them, go with them and we start over.

    You can't say that the people who did it get off scot-free, but we fire the people who were supposed to be watching them. If we get new watchers, the new watchers start with people who we KNOW didn't have anything to do with it, and since we can't have any idea (why else blame the watchers?) we have to start clean. A new IRS from top to bottom, then. Not one employee retained. No taxes until they are up and running.

    Go ahead... We'll give up a few Congresscritters for that.

    May 15, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Linda

    Can we do a recall vote on Obama?

    May 15, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Mateo

    Both the government AND corporations need to be held accountable Mr. Boehner.

    May 15, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Linda

    Oh I forgot, democrats don't pay taxes!

    May 15, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Silence Dogood

    Grill every last one of these dammed 501c's. Liberal or Conservative, doesn't matter. Let us see who's propping them up and where they're spending the money. I'll bet the stuck pigs that squeal the most will be right-wingers.

    May 15, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Brad

    You are Boehner.... for impersonating a Congressman

    May 15, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Bob Ramos

    This is very scary and Boehner does not know how things work in Washington:

    1. Congress passes legislation and after the President signs it, a law is born. In this case a law on taxes.
    2. IRS then proposes regulations that are posted in the public Congressional Federal Register. The public is given 60 to 90 days to comment on them.
    3. IRS then accepts comments and/or disregards comments and/or edits the comments and includes the final product and posts the final regulations in the Congressional Federal Register.
    4. The IRS then works from the SOP based on the final regulations. The specialist works with a file and when he/she is through, his/her recommendations go up the chain of command for signature.

    BTW, no only were the words of Tea Party listed but also ACLU. Politics were not a consideration but doing the work efficiently was. Now because of all of this false brouha, applicants will see delays three times as long.

    As to morale – every retirement eligible IRS employee is looking to see if it is worthwhile to retire. Others are trying to transfer to other agencies where they will not have to put up with stuff like this.

    My credentials: I am a retired federal employee with knowledge of programs like this.

    May 15, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Dan

    Boehner should go to jail for robbing the american public for his salary while secretly working for Big Oil and the arms industry. Cry me a river, Boehner.

    May 15, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. greg

    oh good God... What we were the results of the delays and further questions regarding whether or not an organization deserves the right to be tax-exempt. They were just being thorough and the ones that were Profiled are just being babies. But no one needs to go to jail. That is just stupid.

    May 15, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC


    This is laughable. A few people were a few weeks delayed in getting to falsely claim the Tea Party is a Charitable Organization, when it obviously is not.
    How can it be a charitable organization when Tea Party sponsors candidates Did I neglect to mention the Tea Party Caucus in the House.

    May 15, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Steve

    Those at the IRS who broke laws need to go to jail. Those who were unethical and abused their power need to be fired.

    May 15, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Nonsensical

    All the crooked Republicans should be going to jail.

    May 15, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. kmac

    How many were denied the status? No one seems to mention the number–saw where 96 were delayed.

    May 15, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. realist512

    This is such a non-story. Some republicans want to profile folks from the Middle East. This is just someone from the IRS profiling an organization which should probably not be tax exempt and which has as a tenant to reduce tax payments. This and probably some other groups could be profiled. As I understand it, the IRS already profiles individuals for examination. Small business owners tend to be examined.

    May 15, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. brian

    joe, you will sing a different tune if tables were turned. May God be on your side if you ever find yourself of the opposite opinion from the administration.

    May 15, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Ken

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, you, and a bunch of other Republicans is who's going to jail. This guy seems to have long term memory issues.

    May 15, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Jacksonian

    Just to clarify, 501(c)(4) groups are allowed to lobby and participate in campaigns as long as their primary focus is on "social welfare". This has a broad definition under the law and includes groups who promote civic issues and education. Sounds like they were well within their rights to be tax-exempt according to the law. Not to say that I agree with the law, but thats irrelevant. The IRS was blatantly in the wrong here and they were abusing their power for political gain. That is not only illegal its really troubling. I hope they clean house so this kind of activity is discouraged in the future.

    May 15, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Bev

    Who went to jail for voter suppression back in November? They were "targeted groups" weren't they?

    May 15, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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