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. a slozomby

    "My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?"
    where was this question when the bankers were stealing billions.

    May 15, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Murf

    Irresponsible knee jerk reaction from a supposed Speaker of the House! He's playing politics as usual and continuing the overall Republican strategy of time consuming Distraction, Distraction, Distraction.

    The main Republican Distraction leader, Issa, has an arrest record and he's qualified to lead any investigation?

    And what are the Republicans diverting and distracting from? Legislation that would aid and support middle class Americans. All the Republicans want is to maintain the status quo where Millionaires can park millions and millions in protective over shore accounts as the middle class continue to decline.

    Out of all developed countries in the world 60 other countries, 60 other countries Tax their wealthy More than the US but you would never think that with all the Republican whining about taxation in this country.

    May 15, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Mark

    Again, the partisanship here is unreal. some of you would let a murderer go free unless George Bush goes to jail for your perceptions. A) None of the Previous Administration officials you mentioned were charged with a crime. So your rantings are moot. At this point there are no charges but instead an investigation in it's infancy. We also see where the Benghazi incident has resurfaced due to blatant lying and we see where the AP reporters have been tapped and searched, and by all accounts thus far, with a subpoena that was overly broad and violated established law. All of these plus several other incidents/scandals have been projecting a very dangerous and ominous pattern for this administration. My advice is to quit blaming Bush or anyone else at this point, that horse is dead and move on to figure out why help was not given to Americans serving our country in Libya; find out if illegal acts were committed at the IRS and figure out who approved of them or who knew and did nothing to stop them; further discern who's brilliant idea it was to go after the very media that looks the other way for liberal administrations. If I were the President, I would be highly ticked off because he now will have to answer ALL of the questions and not those cherry picked by a complicit media. They are now angry!

    May 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Jay

    "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."

    Amen to this comment.

    May 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. DoItNow

    Hey Sniffit – I definitely agree with AZ "papers please" law and with more than 15 million illegals that have broken into our home, if you value our country you should have no problem with helping to make sure, if asked, that illegals are identified and removed. Don't have a problem either with pulling Muslims out of line at the airport. We need more profiling, not the Politically Correct less profiling. PC is the true danger to our society, not whether or not some Hispanic person is asked to show they're here legally. After all, we are pretty much overrun by illegal Hispanics, so it;s impossible to avoid it if you WANT to address the situation at all. And actually yes, some of us truly do care about the health and well being of our country and its future.

    May 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. C. E. Collins

    Last year I contributed to several campaigns. All the letters that requested contributions stated that any money contributed was not tax deductible. Why should the Tea Party expect that their followers should enjoy tax exempt status? I applaud the IRS for doing their job. This is a non-scandal. No brainer. Now can we get back to important issues?

    May 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Boehner said at a press conference on Capitol Hill .... blah, blah, blah ..."

    Goodness. For a moment there I thought CNN was replaying a "Romper Room" rerun.

    May 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. bwelter

    Boy, this came in the nick of time. That Benghazi thing was starting to get hot.

    May 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. marvalea

    I'm sick of the "outrage" of the GOP! The IRS is required to verify the eligibility of groups applying for tax exemption. If some of its employees scrutinized those groups with certain key words in their names – regardless of political affiliation – so be it. Think about it for a moment! Regardless of the group's political affiliation, if the group meets the requirements for eligibility of tax exemption – literally tens of millions of dollars are taken in upon which NO tax is paid. Additionally, SOME of those groups were formed in a manner enabling the DONORS to deduct their contributions from their tax liability! Again, tens of millions of dollars diverted from the US Treasury! Tax exemption status is granted too easily and, too often, those organizations – particularly "religious organizations" abuse the exemption (engaging in political activity and/or campaigning for a specific candidate from the pulpit) while raking in BILLIONS in revenue that is tax exempt.

    May 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. JJ

    It will the the GOP appointed IRS commissioner under whose watch this started.

    May 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Jay

    JY, your statement is about stupid.534 others in congress... That would include the Democrats as well, which isn't a problem with me. Tell you what, how about the IRS and our HHS dept. get off their butts and handle all the free loaders living off our income tax and social security tax. I'd much rather see them handled first.

    May 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Steve

    while we're at it, let's check in on all these tea party social welfare non-profits and see if they aren't just political organizations. And if they are, let's throw them in jail for tax fraud.

    May 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    If any of those Tea Party groups provided false information, they need to be fined or go to jail as well.....what about the economic disaster we are still recovering from....who will go to jail for that mess? I hope a full investigation happens to see where the money is coming from and are those so-called "non-profit" political organizations really non-profit or using this status to not pay taxes? Let the full investigation begin!

    May 15, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. robert swason

    When are you going to go to jail Mr. John Boehner? Was it not you who said you need this job like a hole in the head. Oh that's right you need to make more rules so that your big CEO friends that pay you off can do whatever they want my bad.

    May 15, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. sly

    "Where is His birth certificate? Huh, show me His birth certificate. He's not really American".

    IRS was doing it's job. These PAC's are not Tax-Exempt. They are political organizations, not social justice organizations.

    Doesnt the GOP have more important things to do? Maybe find His birth certificate? Or work on seceeding from the United Staes?

    May 15, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. TSB8C

    Just the Obama scandal of the week. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, drones targeting US citizens for extra-judicial killings, DOJ stealing AP phone records, IRS crimes against conservative groups. This is Obama and his Chicago style mob politics. He threatened at ASU back in 2009 to use the IRS against his enemies, so should be no surprise he carried through with that threat. Who's going to jail? Should be Obama after an impeachment.

    May 15, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. KitVA

    The people yelling loudest are the ones who have done the least looking into what constitutes a 501(c)(4) organization.

    501(c)(4)'s are not intended to be primarily political lobbyists, in the event that a majority of their funding does go to political activities they are supposed to lose this tax-exempt designation as a 501(c)(4) organization. Doesn't it then follow that anyone applying for a 501(c)(4) tax exempt status with a blatantly political name would then deserve further scrutiny as they aren't eligible for the status?

    This situation is like opening a herb store, calling it "The Pot Shop" and then wondering why they DEA targetted you for investigation. It is just downright silly.

    May 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Poodlepuff

    The IRS targets the entire population of the United States. So why not right wingers?

    May 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I hate the IRS but we still have this thing called "due process" John.

    May 15, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Bob Blue

    Who's going to jail over stop and frisk laws that target minorities? Who's going to jail over laws that target individuals of Arabic decent in airports? Why is it a big deal to target individuals on the basis of their political affiliations but it's no big deal when our government targets individuals on the basis of their race? Doesn't the government need a compelling reason to treat people different on the basis of race? Doesn't the government only need a rational reason to target individuals on the basis of their political affiliation?? Why all of the outrage now that conservatives are being targeted? Will someone please explain!

    May 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Jonathan

    Not that this isn't bad to have happened, but how about sending some people responsible for the financial crisis to jail before we worry about who goes to jail for petty political shenanigans like this?

    May 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    liberals grasping for air, can't feel any, so very sad

    May 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Bubba

    Boehner's response is so Republican. The IRS goes after the GOP's financial backers, and he wants someone to go to jail, yet when Bankers were ripping off and hurting American Families, Boehner never found the same level of Righteousness.
    The GOP is really showing who pulls their stirngs on this one.

    May 15, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Richard

    So glad to see that the MSM is turning against Obama and mentioning the facts of this IRS scandal, AP scandal, the Boston terrorist attack, the Benghazi terrorist attack, the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, the Fast & Furious scandal, among others. All of these came under Obama – he can't blame Bush anymore. At some point he HAS to take responsibility. Or will he continue to blame others?

    May 15, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Funny how this calls the GOP lawmakers to angrily protest and demand that the faulty party be sent to jail, but no call to send to jail the bankers and financial institutions and policymakers who plundered the wealth of millions of Americans from their lifesavings, from their homes, from their jobs, from their pensions, from the health, and from all their hard-work to carve a piece of the American dream so they can enjoy their later years of their life in some dignity and piece of mind. Nope, no call from Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and others to send to jail those that have brought great suffering and heartache to millions of Americans who witnessed with their own eyes the loss of all that they have built with their blood and sweat. I guess that isn't worth much in this country because no call to send those who plunder our nation to jail. Well, I guess that is the new American story...

    May 15, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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