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. randy

    she is trying so bad to blame Obama. lololol. just cause he did not call out yet or maybe obama already did i dont know but its kinda funny the notion that if he didn't call it, he is guilty. This advances is 100 percent political. Who you trying to fool lady! And we already know who the fools out there 🙂

    May 15, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC


    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.
    As long as it is on "social welfare"? Well, let's create a new category 501(C)(5) for as long as it is about "civil rights".

    May 15, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. drc

    Wow, still the usual looney libs sticking up for this pathetic excuse for an Administration.

    How anyone thinks that anyone in the IRS should be able to single out one group over any other and actually use some sort of logic is beyond me. NO groups should be singled out.

    For those who know nothing about not-for-profit organization, being that they are not-for-profit and 'approved' by the IRS would be the reason they would qualify to not pay taxes. You know, sort of like the ridiculous 47% of the country that pays no Federal Income should be familiar with that 'sham' too.

    May 15, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. notahistorianbut

    Why the hysterical rantings and ravings on this? When the IRS investigated the ACLU and other liberal organizations, including churches during the 2003/2004 election season – where was the outrage from EITHER side of the aisle? This was done during the Bush years, likely done to a degree through every president since Carter, and the only reason its such a Story is so that boehner and co can continue to avoid doing their jobs. With all of the house's crying for one ongoing, continuous, amorphous investigation WHEN O WHEN WILL THEY DO THEIR JOBS. I agree with other posters – the TBTF banks, the Bush war criminals (since Obama is now being called a war criminal and he's just following the path laid out for him), and Congress ALL need to go to jail before peons at the IRS.

    May 15, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. eagen

    Easy solution,, abolish the IRS and go to a Flat tax based system....

    May 15, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. B

    Supporters of the Obama administration, including CNN, are the only ones downplaying this scandal. So I wonder, how much corruption it will take for people to finally see how corrupt he is?
    His fake BC didn't do it, his sealed college transcripts and financial information didn't do it, Fast & Furious went away with an executive order, the voting scandal in PA and people getting caught voting multiple times didn't do it, Americans who died in Benghazi were termed "a bump in the road" while Hillary tried to get us not think about what difference it made as to why they lied repeatedly over the reason for the attack in the first place (after she got over her convenient illness), and now the IRS busted for targeting Conservative groups; which, you really have to be an Obama Homer or just a plain idiot to think Obama didn't have a hand in that one.
    So now that you can't make fun of Boehner for his crying (because now that Obama has done it it's ok to do, right?), you want to throw tomatoes at him for making sure the IRS follows the law.
    Forgive me if I believe your support for Obama is not only unwarranted, but its pretty much unAmerican at this point.

    May 15, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Alan

    Answer – You Mr. Boehner should be the one going to jail. This country and us taxpayers bailed your congress and previous president out of a financial nightmare that my great grandchildren will be paying off, and not one congressman or Senator who voted to remove the post depression era protections and oversights in a little known bill in the fall of 2006, or Wall Street CEO ever has been even prosecuted.

    Put it another way, if You as House Speaker were ever held to the very standards you are now insisting the IRS be held to, for blocking votes on jobs bills, tax reform, even paying the governments bills, your sentence would be 'LIFE' go back to your day job of blocking votes and leave the justice system to its dysfunctional processes.

    May 15, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. BarryG

    So let me get this straight, even though everyone knows this is against the law, it's ok as long as you are not the one they are targeting? I'm simply amazed that so many are so flipant about our rights, as to say, this is no big deal. Even if you still hate Bush, or Clinton, or whomever, no one in their right mind can say this is ok and we should move on. Go ahead and state your love for Obama, or fill in the blank of any other politician, but admit that this is wrong at it's very core and should not get whitewashed due to some misguided loayalty to your party affiliation. If you can't, than you must be sick and incapable of logical thought and probably spending your nights complaining about the voting on AI.

    May 15, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. becky

    Speaker Boehner needs to talk about the real issues facing this country, Can we get past these distractions and do the country's business? This is making a mountain out of a molehill for which he is growing famous. It is tiresome to hear him spout the same party lines.

    May 15, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. JJ236

    Today the IRS blames "two people" Baloney....these two getting thrown under the obama perpetual campaign bus is just the tip of the iceberg.

    May 15, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Bart

    Who went to jail for firing Justice Department attorneys who were not Republicans? Who went to jail for outing Valerie Plame? Who went to jail for the Banking debacle? What did Boehner say wbout those instances? That's right, he said nothing. Hypocrite.

    May 15, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Say What?

    this isnt a problem! The problem is tax exemptions period. NONE should have them!

    May 15, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    Here's your answer Tan Man......NO ONE. Good try though. Maybe you should lay off the booze for a while

    May 15, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. ATLJack

    I'd like to know where Boehner and the Republicans were when the IRS wrongly targeted the NACP, Green Peach and a liberal church in California during the W. Bush administration?

    Odd how Republicans only get worked up over the IRS going after conservatives isn't it?

    May 15, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. VoteYes

    So, two "rogue" IRS emplopyees did the whole thing? Ya right. Is the Obama administration so arrogant and so out of touch with reality that they think the American people are going to buy off on that bunch of hooey? How pitful.

    May 15, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Bill

    Maybe it's just me, but considering a lot of these conservative groups have very publicly stated they are against paying taxes and the government in general, I feel that not only should the IRS be keeping a close eye on these anti-American traitors but also the FBI as well.

    May 15, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)


    .......How about the guy who lied about WMD's in Iraq............
    Please provide proof he lied. SNL isn't proof or news fro that matter.
    Thanks for playing.

    May 15, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. deb

    And.... more speeches from Osama and nothing will be done, on to the next deterent from Benghazi....

    May 15, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC


    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.
    Ed, try a web search for " IRS NAACP 2004 ". When Karl Rove told Sean Hannity that their were no such incidents during the Bush administration he lied through his dentures.

    The IRS audited the NAACP for over two years, at a cost of millions in legal fees to the group. The Bush administration went after liberal groups relentlessly. The NAACP is just the most well known example.

    May 15, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Larry

    Where is clamor about the banking industry going to jail for their real crimes and not suggested crimes of the IRS? when the bankers go to jail then we can think about the IRS.

    May 15, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. martino

    nobody will go to jail... cause as soon as one person gets thrown under the bus, be like a waking up a bee hive of people giving up others for this corrupt administration !!

    May 15, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. sly

    Tea Party: Typical Republicans looking for a big government handout.

    How come Republicans don't have to pay taxes? I have to. My neighbor has to. But, no, not Republicans. They'll do anything for a free handout.

    May 15, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. LazyBones

    Boehner either has the biggest balls in D.C. or the smallest brain. This guy cries foul when anyone so much as farts in the direction of his beloved GOP and then demands vengeance. Elizabeth Warren must be the only person in Washington with their head not firmly placed in their &#^. I want some wall streeters and corporate hawks to go to jail before IRS tards do. First come, first served. D.C. clowns need to get their priorities straight. ALL of them.

    May 15, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. snowdogg

    Mr. Speaker, doesn't there have to be an investigation before anybody gets "fired"?

    May 15, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. brian

    Everyone calling this a non-issue, should think hard about what if you are the target. Stonewalling or bury applications in paper work is just one approach. IRS can audit you and turn your life into hell ALL BECAUSE YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEW FROM THE GOVERNMENT. It may sound like a joke, but the very basis of our freedom is under attack; someone is ABUSING THEIR POWER to INTIMIDATE anyone who dares to exercise their right to FREE SPEECH.

    Is this the government that you want? If so, God forbids you ever fall on the wrong side of them, because there would not be anyone else left to help you.

    May 15, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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