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. Sniffit

    "Jail? I think they should bring out the guillotine, gallows or firing squad. Singling out a particular group by a government agency is not only wrong, it's brazen and extremely egregious. It's the kind of thing that goes on in Communist countries. It's the kind of thing that went on in Germany in the 1930's and early 1940's. Whoever did this has shown great contempt for every single American who has ever shet his blood for freedom, from the minute men on Bunker Hill and Yorktown to those who stormed the beaches at Normandy and Iwo Jima and all those in Afganistan; everyone from 1776 to 2013. There is no place for this in America for these kinds of scum. And scum is what they are. What they have done amounts to subversion of the United States Government, which I believe can potentially be punishable by death. As far as I'm concerned, the death penality is warrented here."

    I see...well, then...setting aside the Godwin's Law crap and my giggles...would Captain Hyperbole like to tell us whether he supported AZ's "papers please" law? How about whether he agree with pulling "certain people" out of line at the airport for some extra-gratuitous groping? Stop and frisk?

    May 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. sick of it too

    The IRS the Federal Reserve Bush Cheney, the CIA, the DHS The Democrats, the Republicans, they all need tossed in the trash can, and give this nation one big System Reboot.

    May 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Mark


    I think it is funny that all the liberals are trying to either deflect criticism away or blame Bush for Obama's white house.
    β€œThe 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
    As a centrist fond of neither party I think your remarks reflect exactly what is wrong with these discussions. First you say all liberals, which would be like me saying 'all' conservatives' – so your already wrong, but then to use a nazi metaphor – very low class.

    The dems won twice – keep it up and that is the kind of thing that will cost 2016.

    May 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. Name Carl

    Heard the word impeach today. The Gop are horrible. They have since the first day of president obama went in office tryed everything to hurt him. I will never vote for a republican. SHAME ON THE REPUBLICANS

    May 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Aaron

    Obama had to have behind this, how many scandals can one president have before his own party gives up on him. It is incredible how corrupt he is

    May 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Strangways

    and who's going to jail for the Iraq war? The banking meltdown? he who smokes in glass houses shouldn't be throwing stones Boehner...

    May 15, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. anchorite

    Who's going to jail? Who's going to jail for the Bush White House asking for, and receiving the phone records of all Americans in January of 2001? Who's going to jail for his genocide of 655,000 Iraqis? Who's going to jail for Cheney allowing oil companies to secretly write our energy policy? Who's going to jail for Karl Rove outing Valerie Plame as a CIA agent because her husband didn't help fake evidence to invade Iraq? Who's going to jail for the US Supreme Court illegally stealing the election and throwing out the votes of over a hundred million Americans and appointing Bush to the Presidency?

    May 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. JackHammer

    Our country has gotten corrupt. The IRS people will go to prison but the ultra-rich 1% ers on wall street that destroyed the economy through mortgage fraud will never be prosecuted. The US is lopsided in favoring the rich and powerful and nothing short of a revolution by the 99% will stop it.

    May 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. American HERO

    Regarding the IRS ( non-scandal) that GOP are trying desperately to make somthing of!
    Excuse ME Mister John B0nehead !!!!!!!!!

    " Someone needs to go to jail!!!"

    Really ???????


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

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Robb

    OK LIBERALS ENOUGH WITH BUSH AND BEING GUILTY!!! Dems controlled both houses and the Presidency for how long and brought NO charges, what does that tell you? A. They were in on it...OR B. there is no guilt (I believe the first)! Just read that Axelrob (Obama's right hand) said government is too vast for Obama to know what is going on! THIS IS THE ENTIRE PT!!! The government is so bloated no one can know everything that is going on. Government needs to be shrunk, yet Obama wants to grow it! You cant see the problem with this? Obama is culpable, whether he knew or not, because he appointed many of these positions, same as Bush!

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Mitch

    The Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case resulted in a flood of applications from political groups seeking tax exempt status. It could be argued that the IRS was simply doing its job by requiring proof that political groups masquerading as social welfare organizations were really eligible for the the tax-exempt status they were seeking. Obama was right when he publicly criticized the Citizen's United opinion. The Supreme Court made this mess. Now, the Republicans are trying to blame the Obama administration.

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Matt

    I blame the media for covering for Obama and letting things get out of hand because he says everything is ok and they believe him. They cover junk news when they need to be grilling the administration for their actions. Just like right now on their website, top story is about a woman being abducted.......what? Three huge scandals ongoing and their cover is about abduction???? Why don't they make it a little more obvious?

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Veeblefester

    "Who's going to jail?" The IRS employees who targeted liberal churches in 2006 for preaching that Jesus is "The Prince of Peace"? No? OK, I give up.

    May 15, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    tea party is a scam!

    May 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. JAGinAZ

    This is such a load of garbage. I loathe the American tax system and despise the IRS but this is just stupid. Not only is this NOT a crime, it is what the IRS is obliged to do. The crimes are actually being committed by the groups trying to falsely gain 501(c)4 status. Why would anyone be shocked that an organization that officially stands against the current tax code and has party political affiliations be scrutinized? Such groups are NOT ELIGIBLE for tax exempt status. The truth is that the corruption lies within these organizations that are trying to gain this 501(c)4 status so they can hide their main contributor's identities. The 501(c)4 code is meant for Social Welfare Organizations. Picking on groups that call themselves "TEA PARTY something or other .. " is just common sense. The law is only being broken if transparently Dem leaning groups are getting approval. And since, the guy running the show was a Bush appointee – that's probably not happening. Abuse of the 501(c)4 code essentially means our elections are up for sale. Is that what people want ? What if OPEC or the European Union decides they want to buy themselves a US govt. Are we down with that ?

    May 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. JohnRJohnson

    John Boehner should go directly to jail and not collect $200, for political malpractice, ineffectiveness, bellicosity, cowardice, and utter uselessness.

    May 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. really


    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 |
    What do you mean IF. The situation WAS reversed in 2005 and 2006 when the IRS under the Bush Administration went after the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Then they went after the NAACP and Greenpeace. A democratic congressman tried to open a Govewrnment Accountabillity hearing and was denied. Nothing was done. The double standard is nauseating.

    May 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. John Stevens

    Now he wants to send someone to jail. This whole thing could easily be understood as the IRS doing their job to be sure that these applications seeking 501,c,4 status intended for civic leagues, social welfare organizations, and local associations of employees are not just blatant covers for partisan political activity. They seek that classification because it allows them to keep the identity of their donors secret and makes them tax exempt. The "scandal" involves asking the right questions and, if the determination is difficult to appropriately ascertain, it is because Congress made the statue vague.

    How about sending some of the folks to jail who almost brought down the entire world economy. Now that is something that requires serious investigation and prosecution.

    May 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Obama, the new Sgt. Schultz, I know NOTHING, I see NOTHING, I hear NOTHING....

    Jail??? Hell no! The Obama administration PROMOTES law breakers!! Following the laws is soooo 1776.

    May 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Robb

    JACKHAMMER>>.Wall Street only did what they were permitted to do with mortgages thanks to the Clinton Administration and continued with Bush! You whiners about the rish disgust me! I am not rich, work hard for money, but I am quite content because my family is taken care of and happy. Maybe instead of worrying about what others have that you dont, work harder to get what you want!

    May 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Jason

    SO who went to jail when the Cheney administration targetted the churches opposing the criminal wars? Who is in jail for the hundreds of thousands dead due the lying by a war criminal? Who is in jail for the 60+ dead americans around the various embassies. Who is in jail for nuking our economy? Who is in jail for no bid contracts to Haliburton. Who is in jail for no negotiations medicare part D.

    May 15, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. bibleverse1

    Did any bankers go to jail for destroying world economy? I want to find out what happened and who did what and punish accordingly.

    May 15, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. JY

    The Bush appointee is gonna go to jail. Maybe Boenher will go to jail too. Him and 534 other in congress, hmmm, maybe all the poilticians that hold the republocratic party membership cards.

    If some of these organizations had applied under false reasons and were not caught until later, IRS would be investigated for NOT selecting groups for further review.

    When you consider that the Patriots and tea party groups hate paying taxes and might do anything to avoid them, maybe the IRS was justified? hell if you are that stupid to openly claim you will do anything to avoid paying taxes then suddenly ask for tax exempt status you sederve to have additionaly scrutiny placed on your applications.

    May 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Robb

    ANCHORITE>>Habeas Corpus was suspended. This means those records and calls could be gathered by the government and not allowed to trial before a proper military tribunal was conducted so it was legal. I may not agree with it, but it is true!

    May 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. bloggette

    Congress wants an investigation into the workings of the IRS, the State Department and every other branch of government. It's about time an investigation was held to see why they aren't able to do their own jobs which they were sent to Washington to perform for the people who put them there. They should be the last to pass judgement on how others do or abuse their positions. People who live in glass houses . . . .

    May 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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