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. MDaniels

    Dammit IRS, you were supposed to do it like Wall Street did: first, lobby Washington and bribe them into repealing the laws you want to break... THEN break those laws after they're off the books. Ya big dummies.

    May 15, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Dictator Obama No More

    I don't see how OBAMA can get out of a Jail Term.

    Forget Impeachment.. a jail sentence looms over OBAMA.

    This is not a simple matter of stealing money.
    OBAMA is charged with using the Federal Government to Spy on The People.
    Using the Federal Government to Intimidate and Persecute The People.

    The People will not forgive this.

    Barack Hussein Obama might just end up like Saddam Hussein.

    May 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Odo

    Who went to jail when some of the SAME GOP Senators demanded (and got) and audit of the NAACP? Who went to jail when an Exxon funded group got the IRS to audit Greenpeace?

    Hell, no one even went to jail for driving our economy off of a cliff....

    Sick of GOP grandstanding any hypocrisy.

    The bigger question should be, Mr. Boehner, Why are these POLITICAL groups getting tax exempt statuses in the first place????

    May 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Ziggy Tomcich

    If an organization that's applying for tax-exempt status has the name Tea Party in it, it's probably political and it should get extra scrutiny.

    May 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. rs

    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.
    I am beginning to understand GOP denial. But,first- the lunacy, or hypothetical you threw out isn't what happened. What happened is the IRS under the direction of a Republican, appointed by Bush chose to look more closely at applications for 501 (c) 4 tax exempt status by TEA Party groups. That requires, the groups do not engage in politics, and provide services beneficial to the community. I hate to say it, but being anti-government, anti-tax and racist probably should deny that application. The shock is it did not- all the groups got that status!

    Thes poor, poor abused TP-ers had to answer a few more questions...... and fools shout "tyranny"!

    No wonder no one wants to vote Republican!

    May 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. marctheduck

    No one will go to jail. Democrats did it and Democrats are in power. They are completely corrupt. Only a couple of low level employees will be thrown under the bus. But they'll just lose their jobs (or only get reprimanded maybe) and everyone else will claim they knew as much about it as Sgt. Schultz did.

    May 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Gary

    Glad to see the IRS never did anything like this to Minority groups in the 60s 70s 80s... Oh wait, they did... I'm sure if we had a "clear picture" we'd see this in many cases...

    May 15, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. buster

    Hey John, I hear your daughter married a habitual drug user. Now what were you saying about someone going to jail?

    May 15, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. RealityCheck

    Let's back up a little. These applications were for organizations trying to obtain status as a CHARITY. There was an explosion in the number these applications right after the GOP-led SCOTUS struck down the McCain-Fiengold campaign finance reform act, and that increase was entirely from conservative groups who pay for advertisements targeting Democrats. Political organizations aren't charities, this is the spirit of the law, but the SCOTUS ruling sure made it possible for anonymous organizations to fund politically-motivated ads so long as they were directly associated with the campaign.

    Right after we get that ruling, the GOP does a victory dance and suddenly there's an explosion in charity applications to create these organizations, presumably for the sole purpose of hiding the true source of funds. They wanted tax-exempt status so they could didn't have to claim donations as income, allowing them to effectively launder money and use it for political means.

    I agree, the IRS employees are out of line to apply their own judgement and single out applications, but that doesn't change the fact that these organizations are not charities and have no business being tax exempt. The IRS saw this unfolding and took a short-cut instead of following due process, but what's really broken is campaign finance law. All the outrage and talk of government abusing power is baloney.

    May 15, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Telimbo

    Answer: Nobody is going to jail... we are talking about those tea party retards.

    May 15, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. rs

    Certainly they should be fire, if not brought up on charge
    I dunno, it sounds like they were just doing their jobs- checking a little further into anti-government, anti-tax wackos seeking tax exempt status. The shock is they actually achieved that status. The TP should have been turned down flat!

    May 15, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Annonynous

    This is just another ploy by the GOP to try to destroy Obama. They failed at stopping him get re-elected, so now they are trying to impeach him. What a bunch of losers. If they would spend half the time on working on their job as they do trying to get rid of Obama they would get a lot done. But no, thats why they are know as the do nothing congress. especially Boehner. Ever notice his blood shot eyes all the time. Is that from crying or what else causes that.

    May 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. mb2010a

    Boehner is an idiot...nobody listens to him anymore, including the members of his own party. Disgusting hypocrites who still haven't gotten over losing the last election.

    May 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. @dictator obama no more

    you realize bush, cheney, and rumsfeld should also be headed to an 8 foot by 8 foot cell to. how on earth we did impeach at the very least bush in 2006 is still beyond me.

    May 15, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Who Knows

    Who is going to jail? Once they convicted and locked up in prison major Wall-$treet Bank$ter CEO's, then we can maybe talk about some incompetent IRS employees.

    BTW: None of those extra scrutinized "Patriot" non-profit applications were denied! NONE! Just delayed.

    May 15, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. bkgrandma

    Where was all the screaming when 3000 innocent people died in the first 9/11? They didn't try to blame Bush or Condi!
    We all know they both lied about "the WMD's" but the Democrats didn't try to reap any political gain from that. Wake up Republicans you are digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole and everyone can see right through your plan

    May 15, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. rs

    Dictator Obama No More

    I don't see how OBAMA can get out of a Jail Term.

    Forget Impeachment.. a jail sentence looms over OBAMA.

    This is not a simple matter of stealing money.
    OBAMA is charged with using the Federal Government to Spy on The People.
    Using the Federal Government to Intimidate and Persecute The People.

    The People will not forgive this.

    Barack Hussein Obama might just end up like Saddam Hussein.
    Unfortunately- you cannot prove anything in your little screed. Mostly because there is no proof. Perhaps you should take a look at the last President's term in office if you wish to see real criminality. Loser.

    May 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. dflynn

    Let's get the bankers who robbed the nation blind before we go after some low level rule breaking bureaucrats!

    May 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. sly

    Where is His birth certificate? As an American, I require that I personnally inspect his birth certificate. This is protected by the 4th amendment.

    Since President Obama is only part white, he should be impeached. As a proud Tea Party member, we cannot allow a non-white to run our country.

    May 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    @Rick1949 – These people are going to administer Obamacare? Good luck.
    Go ahead an harass them Boehner like they harass us.
    Head should roll.
    BINGO!!! You win the prize of the day. Overturning Obamacare still remains a top priority for the Repubs/Tea Partiers and demonizing the IRS is another angle for them. They hope if they can get enough outrage from the public then they can use this for the 2014 mid-terms. This is nothing but political theater and distraction so NOTHiNG gets done in Obama's 2nd term – SHAMEFUL!!!

    May 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Odo

    Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, yesterday called for a more aggressive response from the administration, calling on Obama to personally condemn the IRS action.

    “This is truly outrageous and it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    She termed it “absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review. And I think that it’s very disappointing that the president hasn’t personally condemned this and spoken out.”

    But ten years ago, she asked the IRS to target the NAACP.

    GOP hypocrisy at its' finest.....

    May 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |

    How about crying for the people who can't get decent healthcare and die prematurely because of it?

    While I agree with him about government picking and choosing who to "stick it to" should never happen, I don't agree with his party line outrage. As others have stated, there is so much more he should be outraged about when it comes to his own party during the Bush years, but he never shed a single tear.

    The guy is a typical phony politician.

    May 15, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Oscar

    This IRS thing is nothing more that political maneuvering trying to get tax exempt status for a bunch of terrorists, while Boehner is doing NOTHING about prosecuting BUSH for the war crimes that involve having multiple issues just like Benghazi, except more severe that cost 60 lives AND taking this country into two wars that cost many trillions of dollars and cost thousands of lives all under false pretenses that we now know were complete lies. If Boehner wants someone to go to jail, he should start with Bush.......... and his co-conspirators,... and those that are in congress still covering up the crimes....... Like himself

    May 15, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. InFormed

    Since the groups targeted were the most likely to try to evade paying taxes to begin with, where's the harm? It's called profiling. The Rep's were big on that being a GOOD thing not too long ago. Typical.

    May 15, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. hypatia

    Let's blame him and put him in a cage on the mall for folks to laugh at.

    May 15, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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