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. Terri

    Mr. Boehner does understand that we actually try people in court before sending them to jail in this country...doesn't he?

    May 15, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. A setup

    The more one finds about who's responsible for these IRS targeting, the more it looks like it was a Republican strategy, that is, a set up to smear this administration. You don't believe it? Have you not seen these guys trying over and over to propagate their lies about our President? This is all put together by the right. The whole thing is a SETUP.

    May 15, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. JM

    Wait a second. What if this was a Republican President and the IRS scrutinizing progressive non profits? Liberals would be going bonkers. Think before you type people, you are looking like incredible hypocrites.

    May 15, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Matthew

    I love that we can go after the IRS for investigating groups looking for tax exemptions but we can't go after the banks who bankrupted the country. We need more IRS agents who are willing to look deeper into all the financials of political groups. The only thing these "rouge" agents did wrong was not look at larger political groups.

    May 15, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. T Guy

    Under G W Bush the same thing happened and where was all the fuss that the GOP is yelling about. They where very very quiet then. Back off GOP and get your self under control.

    May 15, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Joe Brown

    I do admit to still being a Nelson Rockefeller Republican! I am not a Tea Party fan but I agree with Speaker Boehner. He is absolutely correct. Once and for all, jail the perps!

    May 15, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The report's findings indicate that of the 298 cases reviewed by the IRS inspector general as potential political cases not eligible for tax exempt status: 72 contained the name "tea party," 11 contained "9/12" and 13 contained the word "patriots," according to the report. There were 202 cases that did not contain any such reference. No applications were denied. Still trying to understand the scandal.

    May 15, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Robert

    This is why the idea of Republicans in control is such a scary thought. Something bad or controversial happens...let's throw someone in jail without doing any investigating and then look at the facts later. Apply to the world stage...North Korea looks at us cross-eyed...let's go bomb them out of existence and ask then ask why did they do that.

    May 15, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Using the excuse that the other side did it? REALLY?

    So your excuse is because the people you detest so badly did it you can do it. The very thing you complain about the otherside doing is OK when you do it? HYPOCRITES BIG TIME

    May 15, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. rconatser1

    Boehner and the GOP make me sick. Bush and Cheney murdered thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, while destroying the U.S. economy, and instead of helping to clean up the mess, they insist on scoring political points on Benghazi and the IRS. Put Bush and Cheney in prison, do your jobs, then come and whine about these petty little matters afterward.

    May 15, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. wade

    It will be some low level scape goat if it is anyone at all.

    May 15, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. joet

    Where was all this righteous indignation when Valerie Plame got "outed"?

    May 15, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Bill

    If there's any justice: Obama.

    May 15, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Jean

    Ha – two low-level "rogue" employees of the IRS have "already been disciplined". What was the discipline, a pat on the behind and sent to bed without dinner? Certainly they should be fire, if not brought up on charge, if indeed they are the real culprits and not just scapegoats. Typical Obama-speak, I know nothing and it's the little peons fault not mine. This president is the first I can recall who after 5 years in office is still responsible for nothing, absolutely nothing, if it is wrong or bad for his image. He's the big hero on Bin Laden and all over the front pages in photo ops but in Benghazi, IRS and AP he's not involved at all, it's always someone else's fault. No wonder so many americans feel its appropriate to take zero responsibility for their own actions or decisions. This guy is a bigger joke then I ever thought he could be.

    May 15, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. David

    Screw that. Who is going to jail for the financial crisis! Let's get some priorities!!

    May 15, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Jim

    Dick Cheney first !

    May 15, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Andrew

    Lets start with the people that knew a lousy war with the Afghanistan would work. They should have taken lessons from Russia with that one. Then the ones that allowed the bankers to steal peoples home in 2007. After that lets talk about those that would not work with the president period on most anything. Hmm.. all of these things were done under a republican president and now a republican led Congress hmm.. . Benghazi these Repugnuts are really afraid of Mrs.Clinton funny funny funny.

    May 15, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Al

    Don't worry about these AMERICAN CRIMINALS, they are AMERICANS therefore THEY ARE NOT CRIMINALS... We should FOCUS on illegal immigrants... !!!

    May 15, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Robert

    What do you mean Billy! It's what you did to Bush. Both sides need to take a deep breath.

    May 15, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Lisa P.


    I have a better question. Why is it legal for obviously political organizations to get tax exempt status?
    May 15, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm

    And to hide the names of their politically motivated donors? That's the one that cheeses me - charities should not be front-groups for corporations or rich people with ulterior motives. Not on my tax dollar.

    May 15, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Liberatus

    The same people who went to jail for all the illegal activity during the Bush administration. No one.

    May 15, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Woodrow

    I do not support these tea party groups but this is very wrong. The IRS shouldn't have a political bias.

    May 15, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Alison

    As much as I think this was wrong, it was NO WAY close to being as wrong a big banks wrongly foreclosing on innocent homeowners or the mortgage lending practices and derivative swapping that led to the 2008 financial collapse yet NO ONE went to jail for those!! This is a scandal and yes, it shouldn't have happened but jail?

    May 15, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. starry1

    Sure. Right after the Wall Street bankers go to jail.

    May 15, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. BGko

    So tired of the "The other side did it, too!" nonsense. Look, if it's wrong then it's wrong. Don't use the actions of another administration to excuse the wrong actions of the current one. Two wrongs don't make a right. (And if some fool wants to say, "Where were you and your condemnations when so-and-so was doing such-and-such?". Well, I'll tell you. I was right here saying the same exact thing. These two political parties are nothing more than two cheeks on the same A.

    May 15, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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