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. Ken in MO

    He wants so bad to blame this on Obama. It must kill him that the head of the IRS is a Republican appointee! It is intersteing that the only ones denied were liberal groups. hmmmmm...maybe Johnny Boy is going to jail.?

    May 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. hkirwin

    Anyone who accepts or defends these activities have some real issues. Turn the table and they would be the first to boohoo.

    May 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. John

    You cannot start a real fire by claiming to smell smoke. Without any idea what was done, who did it, or if any laws were broken, Boehner is calling for jail? What a thoughtful, analytical mind he has to weigh none of the facts before he is ready for sentencing. Kind of shows the real goal in this though doesn't it.

    May 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Pete Castelli

    Who went to jail when the Banks and Wall Street bankrupted our country? Where was you cry for jailtime then? What a joke, the conservatives are hateful and off message even when they are right. the hate shows through...

    May 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. HistProf

    How about behaving like rational individuals and objectively (*gasp*) looking at separate issues separaely and based only on facts? OK, some are upset about the bail out or whatever. THIS is about a federal agency knowingly and deliberately discriminating against US citizens based on their political views in a manner that may have influenced two national elections, in apparent violation of statute and Constitutional rights alike. This time it targeted conservative groups, but that is irrelevant to the offense. An offense that strikes at the foundation of a democratic state. Compounded by the media's long-term failure to pursue the problem until the offending government agency itself acknowledged that it existed. Anyone that believes in the founding principles of US government should be taking this very seriously indeed.

    May 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Carol

    The country would be much better off and would get more work done if Boehner and McConnell would resign.

    May 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. John

    Since everyone else on here wants to talk about something other than the current IRS offenses, let's talk about David Axelrod. He just said, in defense of Obama, that the government is "too big for Obama to control." Amazing. He just threw the whole "It's Bush's fault." argument out the window because if Obama can't be held responsible for what's happening while he is at the top, then how could Bush? This stuff must be pretty serious for him to be giving up that argument.

    May 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Joe

    I love the quantity and lack of quality in the tu quoque arguments here. Facts are individuals in the obama administration specifically the IRS used their official powers to advance a political agenda and violated the law in the process. Full Stop.

    There needs to be immunity given to low level officials so that prosecutions can be made at the highest level possible. You want to act like the RICO act ought to apply to you, well sir we will treat you as thus.

    May 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Cathy

    I want to know why these groups are given tax exempt status anyway. Tax exempt status should be reserved solely for those organizations that benefit the public good. These groups, both left and right, have hijacked the process and are using their tax exempt status to intervene in elections while hiding their donors.

    May 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Peach

    How about Obama going to jail-when is he going to take responsibility for ANYTHING--–time to pay up.

    May 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. longtooth

    Who is going to jail? How about Cheney and Rumsfeld?

    May 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Larry L

    Is it illegal to investigate a group who openly encourages trashing the tax system? Wouldn't that be enough of an indicator to cause investigators to take a hard look? Other behaviors trigger and IRS inquiry to tax-exempt organizations – like extravagant life-styles of administrators or unexplainable sources of income.

    Does a purely political PAC get tax exempt status? Wouldn't the Tea Party's racist signs and slogans indicate them to be nothing but a right-wing PAC?

    May 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Don

    If he (Boehner) put this much energy working towards more jobs and the economy just think were we could be by now!

    May 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Anonymous

    My same question about the economic meltdown – who is going to jail?

    May 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Stan


    You actually posted: 'Who is going to jail?" Boehner is.

    Oh snap! So clever, so witty! You must have been the master at games like "I Know You Are, But What Am I" and "Takes One To Know One".

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

    I'm not condoning the IRS' action in the least, but I'm still far more concerned about who is going to jail from the banking industry. Oh right, no one..

    May 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. RINO Bill

    Nice of Boehner to save the taxpayers money by ignoring the indictment, trial and verdict.

    ... and isn't it prudent for the IRS to review and examine organizations seeking tax-exempt status? If most of those groups happen to be conservative, so what? No penalties were assessed so why not move on unless the Tea Partiers raised this issue not for justice, but for political hay.

    May 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. johnnyDH

    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 he is not delaying progress...he is doing exactly what the people who voted for him want him to do, which is not let the urban population of this country push their big government on everyone. I am very thankful for him.

    May 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Herbal Tea Party

    And yet another problem with the SCOTUS Citizen United decision. How many 501 (c) applications are legitimate?

    May 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. maureen

    The hypocrisy of Boehner and his party is beyond ridiculous. How they lie with a straight face to the American people is...I can't find the words!!

    May 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. philtration

    Let's start with Bush and Cheney.

    May 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. No support

    Hey Boehner, how many of your banking buddies went to jail after the collapse? Tell us how many were truly effected by that versus your Tea Party friends looking for a way not to pay taxes with some the forming of a bogus organization. I hope you realize that often times what goes around comes around.. remember Newt when he had your job?

    May 15, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. Doug

    Boehner is such abhorrent, contemptible, despicable person that it pains me each time I have to see him stand up and speak on behalf of the United States. His service should come to an end and soon. He should be running a lobbying group somewhere on behalf of the extraction industry. He should go do something where he can't do as much damage as he is doing in the House.

    May 15, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. us_1776

    Going to jail?

    That would be the Tea Party for trying to create a bunch of tax scams.


    May 15, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Daremonai

    I think the term 'first world problems' applies here. For once dumpy white conservatives are being profiled in a 'something that is not even a minor inconvenience' way that they would not have even noticed if not for the report.. and they throw a fit.

    I can just see the fuming 'how dare you treat us like minorities! we wanted to do that!'

    May 15, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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