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. E,Lauria

    You should for the way the HOUSE has held the American people hostage

    May 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. GI Joe

    I'm wondering the same thing about his Big Banker Buddies on Wall Street. They have caused a lot of deaths in this country (starvation, homelessness, suicide, etc).

    May 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Bob C.

    It's profiling. A group of people who hate paying taxes suddenly form a bunch of tax exempt organizations. If it's good enough for airport security, and for the LAPD, it's good enough for the IRS.

    Oh wait, you mean the IRS is profiling WASPs and not some other minority group? That has to be stopped immediately!

    May 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. GI Joe

    I'm wondering the same thing about his Big Banker Buddies on Wall Street. They have caused a lot of deaths in this country (starvation, homelessness, suicide, etc).

    What about Karl Rove? His group is NOT a charity.

    May 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Time for the arm of the law

    @guest – yes – it would be great if everyone got their facts straight. No law was broken! The tea party was going to get tax exempt status. But the IRS needed to figure out if they were a 501c4 (primarily social welfare organizations) or a 527 (primarily political agendas) organization (both tax exempt). No laws were broken. But in a 527 you have to disclose donors where in the 501c4 you do not. So what law was broken????

    May 15, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. pliny

    I want to send IRS employees to jail....

    ...on the day AFTER we round up the Wall Street criminals who knowinly sold worthless mortgage backed securities and almost totally ruined our economy.

    May 15, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Thomas

    Marc, I would really like to have more details before I decide if what they were doing is OK. Their job was to screen candidates for 501 C 4 status. To obtain this status an organization is supposed to be a social welfare organization. Unlike those organizations with a C 3 status they can lobby for political change. What that means is any wealthy corporation or individual can donate large sums of money to an organization who's sole purpose is to influence public policy. However, in order to qualify they can not be overtly political. To help identify the organizations who were really just political with no social wale fare activities, they focused on organizations who had overtly political names or represented themselves as being anti government.

    I'm so sick of hearing people complain about the IRS abuse of power. The whole concept of a 501 c 4 is a farce. Most are nothing more than organizations designed to allow millionaires and corporations to write off the billions they spend to influence the general public that we are oppressed and mistreated by our government.


    The whole concept of a 501 c 4 is a farce. .

    It's a great way for lobbyist to launder money , ask Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay

    May 15, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. JohnS

    If anybody does go to jail, it shouldn't be until after Cheney and others from the former Bush administration go to jail first.

    May 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. GI Joe

    The Guy (Shulmar) that Bush appointed started looking for a job in Republican organizations several weeks before he quit.

    He quit after the crap hit the fan, but before it became public. Seems kinda smelly to me.

    May 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. ratherbboating

    I think it is funny that all the liberals are trying to either deflect criticism away or blame Bush for Obama's white house.
    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” ― Joseph Goebbels

    May 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Roger

    Using a government agency to sabotage groups that are exercizing their freedoms to operate and seek representation in that government is extremely criminal. In fact, it's the kind of thing that goes on in Communist countries and that went on in Hitler's Germany, but it should never go on in America. It's an affront to every patriot who shed his blood from Bunker Hill and Yorktown to the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima and to Afganistan. There must be persons held accountable, and that accountability should include something on the order of twenty to thirty years in prison. If this had happend in China, whoever was responsible would have been shot. And personally, I think that would be appropriate if it were legal.

    May 15, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. gladiatorgrl

    The only good that can come out of this is ALL TAX EXEMPT should be either eliminated or scrutinized heavily. WHY is even the church tax exempt anymore? Why can't they write their "charity" off against their income like everyone else? Why does the NRA need to be tax exempt? ALL should have to write off their charitable work against their income.

    May 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Ray E. (Georgia)

    And you thought Harry Truman was dead! Old Harry used to say, I don't Give em Hell I just tell the truth. They think it's hell. The Liberal's are now getting a dose of Harry.

    May 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. IvotedforObama

    Who is going to jail for all the illegal stuff bush did?

    May 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    It is interesting, how corruption in government, never seems to lead to anyone being punished, unless they are well down the totem pole.
    Absolutely true! And- the whole Bush Administration is a glaring testamony to that!

    May 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. tony

    As soon as Bush, Cheney and Blair get their just desserts, as mass murderers, I'm all for going after the IRS

    May 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. sly

    Big deal – government employees trying to enforce the law. If a few clerks let their conservative or liberal bia's get in the way of their job, discipline them.

    End of story.

    May 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse," Boehner continued. Them laws must be really effective then...

    May 15, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. johnwest

    there are no innocents in government.

    May 15, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Jack

    Without any intention of defending illegal and unwise actions of the IRS I suggest we will have at least as many criminal prosecutions in this case as we did in the clearly illegal outing of Valerie Plame.

    May 15, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. So sick of this....

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, etal didn't go to jail for war crimes and you want someone from the IRS to go to jail for these lesser crimes? What color is justice?

    May 15, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Mike

    LOL Isnt the IRS TOO BIG TO GO TO JAIL like the so called Big Businesses were TOO BIG TO FAIL???? NO ONE HAS DONE ANY JAIL TIME IN EITHER ADMINSTRATION IN WHAT UHMMMMM 12 YEARS NOW???? SO WHY NOW???? Who in the Housing Market did any Jail time?? maybe they'll all use that worthless excuse.......They admitted themselves into a 30day alcohol abuse program and foolishly believe that's justice.......Like all the Big Bussiness and Political Criminals have done for the last 12

    May 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Bob

    You liberals are funny!! If the situation was reversed you all would be screaming bloody murder.

    May 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Rosemarie Benintend

    As soon as they jail the Wall Street bankers, AND the rogue Congress, they can start on this.

    May 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. American HERO

    Regarding the IRS ( non-scandal) that GOP are trying desperately to make somthing of!

    Excuse ME Mister John Bonehead Bhoener!!!!!!!!!

    " Someone needs to go to jail!!!"

    Really ???????

    YOU FIND THOSE WMD'S that 3000+ of our troops didn't find???

    Someone including your self should've already been in jail along with
    COUNTRYWIDE mortgage , fannie Mae freddie mac, Goldman Sachs etc.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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