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. wilnel1984

    You mean who is going to jail for using the IRS to investigate the NAACP? Or lying to the public about nuclear weapons in the Middle East? Or leaking the names of covert operatives? Or people who commute the sentences of people who leak the names of covert operatives? I could go on...and on...and on, but you get the picture.

    May 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Anonymous

    'Who is going to jail?" Boehner is.

    May 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. lame

    what a joke these people are that run our country. Little kids pointing fingers and yelling not me, it's you. sick of it all. this is very bad indeed they targeted those groups. wonder what will be next?

    May 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Jaimie

    "Who is going to jail"? Ask's Boehner....... Watch out folks, they are looking and the lower employees as always to blame . Take it from the top and fire them. That is if you are worthy or are you worthless.

    May 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "That not one group was rejected for 501 (c) 4 status is a far greater crime"

    Not true. Three applications from liberal groups were denied.

    May 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Bob

    Boehner is going to jail.

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. Bubba Ray

    Profiling is great as long as you aren't part of the group that is being profiled.

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. roro

    Boehner should be going to jail as the weakest Speaker in history, who is getting no legislation accomplished. All he does is stall, obfuscate, and obstruct.

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Tea Party

    So conservatives hate profiling. Unless your a minority or poor. Poor neo-cons, they are known criminals and tax dodgers and the IRS knows it.

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Time for the arm of the law

    Go to jail? For this??? How about going to jail for the collapse of the economy? Who went to jail for that? Who went to jail for the Iraq debacle? Why aren't they in jail?? Give me a break Boehner! Just because the IRS questioned the motives of the Tea party (as did everyone else – social welfare groups my foot) it had zero impact on our great country. Get your priorities right man!

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Tea Party

    Maybe if Conservatives paid their taxes they wouldn't be high priority in tax audits.....Just a thought.

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Sniffit

    I haven't a doubt in my mind that Boehner, if asked by the uncritical MSM, would not be capable of articulating what crime he thinks might have been committed...which makes him a perfect representative of the people his talking points are targeted at, because they haven't the slightest clue what crime might have been committed either...they just know they're mad as hell and have been since November 4, 2008.

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. bam

    the Bush Appointed head of the IRS of course. he was in control he is responsible. wah wah benghazi

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Jewels

    Boehner is now all about ethical behavior? Righttttt...

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. TruePatriots

    Exactly how much time did Boehner serve for bribing elected officials? That's exactly how much time "they" should serve.

    And, once again, the only question I care about is why should we be giving these groups tex exempt status in the first place?

    May 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Saboth

    Republicans: always ready to jump the gun. Just like the GOP lead us to the Iraqi war that wasted thousands of lives and trillions. How about we let an investigation proceed before we start firing people and sending them to jail? Let me many people went to jail over the financial meltdown that almost destroyed our country? Also....most reports are saying the IRS did not scrutinize the conservative organizations more than the other thousands of organizations that were seeking tax-exempt status.

    May 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. John

    I just find it funny that you have organizations that name themselves after a group MADE FAMOUS by refusing to pay taxes, and then they're surprised when the IRS wants to take a closer look.

    Gee, wonder why the IRS would want to do that...

    May 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Ken Long

    The groups that's try to get themselves tax exempt status when they don't deserve it need to go to jail.

    May 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Wow, somebody actually woke Boehner up. Wonder if he is actually in DC "working"

    May 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. guest

    Time for the arm of the law
    The difference is one is Illegal. your rants have NOTHING illegal in them. You need to get your facts and your priorities straight !

    May 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. lunchbreaker

    If you are targeting terrorists, you might look for people who openly hate the U.S. If you are targeting tax fraud, you might target those who hate taxes, i.e. conservatives.

    May 15, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Malory Archer


    So, delaying (not refusing) the applications of groups for tax exempt status (essentially making them the "takers" we are always hearing so much about) is something that Boehner believes is a criminal act deserving of jail time, but delaying the progress of the entire country for the past 5 years is just fine.


    Except those applications weren't delayed – they were fast-tracked, pushed to the front of the line, given priority and EVERY SINGLE ONE WAS APPROVED.

    May 15, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. AK_Steve

    If Boehneer punishes the IRS lie he punished the corrupt bankers who tanked the economy he will slap them in the wrist of one hand and hand them billions of tax payer money with the other.

    So stop your phony political outrage – you have done worse Boehner.

    May 15, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Wake up People!

    So now we put people in jail for doing their jobs???

    No wonder Congress doesn't do anything.....

    The only people that should be going to jail are the treasonous republikkkans that have made it their mission to ensure this POTUS fails.

    What a pathetic group of people.

    May 15, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. A Humble Perspective

    These groups were clearly targeted for political reasons. You can say it does not matter, or was not a big deal, or throw out a bunch of past examples that have nothing to do with this situation, but in the end, the IRS messed up big. It is one of a handful of problems the administration will have to address.

    May 15, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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