CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?
June 18th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?

Updated 8:01 a.m. ET, Tuesday, 6/18

Washington (CNN) - A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation.

Republicans argue that the Obama administration used the IRS to intimidate and harass political opponents. Democrats say poor management at the tax agency, rather than political bias, is to blame. Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, touting an independent IRS inspector general report, has said the scrutiny appears to have originated with "IRS officials in Cincinnati," where the agency's tax exempt division is centered.

GOP tries to keep focus on IRS targeting scandal

Last month only 37% of the public thought that the IRS controversy led to the White House, with 55% saying that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.

"Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement, and there is, not surprisingly, a partisan divide as well," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the Obama administration may be losing independents on this matter. In May, only 36% felt the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups; now that number has crossed the 50% threshold."

Fifty-one percent of those questioned said the IRS controversy is a very important issue to the nation, compared to 55% who felt that way in May. In the past week and a half, the IRS story has been put a bit on the backburner, as the controversy over the federal government's massive surveillance program has dominated the spotlight.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International June 11-13, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • IRS • White House
soundoff (726 Responses)
  1. Kenema

    Only facts, let me get this straight. The IRS is correct for going after these groups only on the right? These people already PAID TAXES on their money. Over 300 of these groups were targeted and ONLY 1 was denied on the left. These conservative groups weren't even denied, just held up so their still in limbo. That is even worse than a denial. Media Matters has done this on steroids for decades. The left is only angry because the right doing the same thing. If you would of paid attention, you'd know that these "Investigations" started BEFORE the increase of 501C3's started. What makes me sick of American politics is the HYPOCRITES who find somethings being fine as long as it's their side.

    June 18, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. JustAO

    How's that job creation legislation going GOP? 5 years of hating Obama and making sure wealthy corporations get tax welfare, yet no legislation on how to increase consumer spending and job creation (unless you want a minimum wage job with no paid benefits no matter how educated or experienced you are).

    June 18, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Bob


    June 18, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Ben

    Wow, so many of you are blind partisan bootlickers, Obama could shoot a puppy on national TV, and your response would be "Republicans are racist!"

    June 18, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. digitalhegemon

    What has he done? He's flagrantly disregarded your liberty as outlined in the Bill of Rights. He's repeatedly covered-up his malfeasance using scapegoats, diversions, and lies. He's played a double-standard around the world with American citizens getting shorted. I say him but this is pandemic in government as we know it, democrat/republican/whatever. I know there's no arguing with Ozombies. I'm just eulogizing this disaster. Peace.

    June 18, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. NameFrank Deery

    Who else gained by blocking Conservative groups, who donate more than Democrats,
    from joining these groups? We need a Special, impartial investigation into this.

    Obama did not win by any landslide in Nov
    2013, and more Republican donors could have helped Romney win. I doubt this nation would be reeling from all these blunders(Boston Marathon attack) and scandals, had Obama, an inept leader and
    president, been defeated.

    Watergate 2 coming!

    June 18, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. LogicRules

    A Conservative IRS manager has admitted to the targeting, Issa wont make public certain parts of the investigation, Issa has stonewalled Democrats in any oversight decisions, and he still doesnt have any proof to back up his granstanding. Benghazi has frizzled, fast and furious was a dud...I mean, hgow much of taxpayers money goes to these partisan witch-hunts?

    June 18, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Ed

    The percentage of americans who think senior staff at the White House is involved rose 10%.

    In other news, the amount of actual evidence of this remained static at nothing.

    June 18, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Gabbo

    So many liberal sheep out there ...and all of them are blinded by their obsession for shallow liberal thoughts.

    June 18, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. USA

    Beginning to think this country didn't deserve Barack Obama to clean up Bush's mess. We are a very ungrateful nation and buy into all the negativity too quickly and without proof. He has turned the economy around and we are no longer heading for another Great Depression but people hate the guy. I don't get it. What has he done that is so awful??

    Wow...You are exactly what we are talking about..The low informed uneducated voter. Your the reason we are in this mess to begin with...Hows that Hopie Changey thing working for you?

    June 18, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Keith

    How can that be? I thought Obama is the lefts Messiah? Wasn't he supposed to heal the planets and the ocean? Wasn't he supposed to wave his hand and eliminate sin for the earth?

    June 18, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Brad

    This is exactly why the GOPTP holds these hearings about non-scandals. People get very little information and jump to the most negative conclusion possible. It has be shown the WH had zeio kno;wdge of this activity. Its the throw mud against the wall and see what sticks political game

    June 18, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Dean Magee

    America is once again looking like the bad guy. Impeachment is not far away.

    June 18, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. sly

    Republicans dont call themselves The Party of Stupid for nothin'!

    Shame on the Tea Party for trying to break our nations Tax Laws.

    Bravo to the IRS for enforcing the law. We need the money.

    June 18, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. thebigguy

    Never trust a teaser headline that includes a question mark. Cheap. Hack. Pseudo-journalism. Just like you see on Faux.

    June 18, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Big_D

    Last time I checked under 50% is not a majority. Next question is what kind of phone survey? Land lines tend to give results for people over 60.

    June 18, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. patriot00

    really people

    June 18, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Kat

    So Issa's plan is working – make the allegation, provide no evidence, just keep making the allegation, and hope it sticks and more and more people will people the unfounded allegation. :/

    June 18, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Big_D

    It is always suspect when the GOP says they have proof but they don't make it public. If they have proof why wouldn't they make it public?

    June 18, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. yeahright


    So, I would think that this influenced the 2012 election and Obama;s win for the presidency – did the obama win by supresssing conservative votes – ?


    Application for tax exempt status has nothing to do with anyone's right to vote. Secondly, do you really think that anyone that would be involved with a local TeaParty organizaion would "not" have already been voting for Romney? Third, these organizations are supposed to be primarily "social welfare" organizations, so if they are following the law, they would have no influence on any election. Time to take off the tinfoil hat.

    June 18, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. TomB

    Dave, did you learn that mantra about Republican lying in school or did you get it from your focused Democrat lock-step committee chair?

    Democrats = Bleat loudly only. Obaaaaahma!

    Quick, go exploit some poor minorities to fight your battles for you!

    June 18, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Snowyowl

    Conservative groups should be targeted by the IRS. Their whole political philosophy is a colossal tax dodge.

    June 18, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Aaron

    Wow the liberals will back Obama no matter what he does, scary

    June 18, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. real person

    Stupido -democrats !
    No matter what profs and facts you will have, Obama always rocks for you !
    Just wait ! History shows opposite – there is no generous grandpa Obama – there are grandpa Lenin, grandpa Stalin, grandpa Mio, grandpa Castro.............

    June 18, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Jim

    Louis Lerner took the fifth to hide her crimes and the people who gave her orders to commit the crimes. You have to be as stupid and gullible as a democrat to think that someone would throw away their career to target republicans on their own.

    June 18, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30