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. rick in Texas

    Rome(USA) has been burning for the last 20 years and yet the Congress still fiddles.

    May 15, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Andrew Vrba

    Didn't stop Bush and other ex-presidents from doing it.
    Where was your outrage then, Bonehead?

    May 15, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. ricke1949

    These people are going to administer Obamacare? Good luck.
    Go ahead an harass them Boehner like they harass us.
    Head should roll.

    May 15, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Mario

    The pot calling the kettle black!

    May 15, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Rembrant

    Can we fix this so it doesn't happen again and move on to dealing with the ziliions of problems our country faces? Or will congress turn this into a long, drawn-out, partisan debacle costing Americans lots time and money, further gridlock, and a great excuse for congress to not do any actual work??

    May 15, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. batman

    Dunno, who went to jail in the subprime mortgage mess? How many wall street bankers are enjoying 3 hots and a cot right now?

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

    Looks like this "tea party" groups are looking for a hand-out....

    May 15, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Mark

    Too funny!!! The IRS scrutinizes ALL non-profit groups. i worked for the IRS. They target game show winners, lottery winners and special interest groups all of the time. Geez, how else do you think all of these do-nothing politicians stay in office? It takes a lot of money to run so inefficiently.... Maybe someone should investigate the Senators and Congressmen to see who's sending all of the campaign money – both Dems and Reps.....

    May 15, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. JohnB35

    And how many of the Wall Street criminals have went to prison, Boehner? Oh, that's right, NONE, because YOU protected them.
    Long-term, republicans are done for in this Country.

    May 15, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. DJL

    Did anyone go to jail when the IRS targeted 'liberal' charities under George W. Bush?

    May 15, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Modocer

    It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
    – Henry Ford
    To this I might add "the tax code".

    May 15, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. crp

    Oh dear, Righteous indignation from the Speaker and others. This is laughable. Organizations generally wait 12 months to receive charitable status. Our organization waited 13 months to be approved and yes, we were asked to supply more information. George Bush was President when we applied and we know other organizations which also waited. We did not accuse anyone of targeting us.

    The IRS is charged with the duty of verifying that groups are legitimately not for profit. These groups are PACs.They were asked to supply more information as are many other applicants. I suspect there were quite a few who asked for recognition and I would hope that they were given the same scrutiny that we received before we were granted charitable status, Sure those who made these groups wait a little longer because they were considered should be reprimanded or they should be asked to resign. However, thousands of applications are received each year and these groups are just a small number of those applications received.

    The bigger question which the Speaker and others should answer is why PACS receive this status at all. Has anyone ever calculated what that costs the government each year? Why was there a rash of requests from PACs to be tax exempt organizations?

    May 15, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. nuntukamen

    Hey, John Boehner, who oversaw the bankers? Oh, you? Your pals. Where was this question then? There are falsified applications in this investigation, and that is who belongs in jail, if anyone. This isn't even close to the worst actions by the IRS you've applauded and encouraged over the years.

    May 15, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. stuart

    Bad all around.

    May 15, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Jc

    Liberals may not like that tea party organizations apply and get tax exempt status, but if they fall within the criteria then why is it ok to target them? To that end, why would conservative groups be denied when so many liberal groups get the tax free status? Liberals may not like the tea party, and I'm not a fan of them either, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The list of liberal organizations that are politically based getting 501(c)(4) status is lengthy and distinguished. You want to black someone from getting tax free status? Start with NAMBLA.

    May 15, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. 94M

    Don’t you people get it. Because it affects your party affiliation does not make it acceptable and another wrong does not make a right. Laws were probably broken and being a Dem or Republican should not matter. People should be outraged that partisan politics has reached into an area that is supposed to be protected by the Constitution. There are a lot of things going on right now. IRS, Treasury, Benghazi, AP… What’s next? We need to demand better from our elected officials.

    May 15, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Judi Powell

    Since Citizens United opened the floodgate for "tax exempt" status.....every right wing grpup in the country backed by Karl Rove, the Kochs, and the ALEC have applied. The IRS is only doing it's job. The GOP doesn't LIKE that,,,,,,

    May 15, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. sly

    All these huge coverups! If you study the film from Benghazi, you can clearly see President Obama is in the crowd disguised as a terrorist. The liberal media has covered this up. Obama can be seen running into the Embassy.

    I think this is grounds for impeachment, because Obama was in the crowd attacking the embassy.

    I cannot believe the liberal media is covering up this fact. And, where is his birth certificate. This is really important.

    May 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Eric

    Since Bush, Cheney and the whole PNAC crew aren't rotting in jail right now, I'd say the bar has been set pretty high.

    May 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. T

    .......How about the guy who lied about WMD's in Iraq............

    May 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. pat carr

    There goes Boehner again with Drama. If IRS officials need to go to jail so do some Bush Era officials

    May 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Mark in San Diego

    Is Scooter Liby still in Jail? As I remember the GOP didn't cover for him. This is worse than what he did.

    May 15, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Brad

    Wait a minute, I know whats going on here, It looks like Boehner just woke up from sleeping off a drunken night and was asking if anyone of his cronies got arressted.

    May 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. norma jean.

    I've wondered for a long time......what would happen if Boehner was replaced....He doesn't do anything but frown and put down the president...What does he do but complain and occasionally shed a tear or two.. This man is nothing but a big mouth saying nothing!! ...... SERIOUSLY.....WHAT DOES HE DO?????

    May 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Ed

    IF the IRS targeted liberal charities under George W. Bush, which there appears to be no evidence of, then the people that did that should go to jail along with the current IRS employees who have been identified as targeting conservative groups. The IRS needs to be NON-PARTISAN, regardless of who is in office.

    May 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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