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. terryrayc


    Well, if you get your "facts" from Faux News then I can understand. As I said, we should have gone into another Great Depression so you haters would really have something to complain about. Also, if you think the recovery was going to happen in less than 5 years then it is you who lives in a bubble. This is going to be a long, slow turnaround especially with jobs, however it would be much quicker and more robust if your stupid obstructionist in the House would work on jobs & the economy instead of taking away a woman's right to choose and overturning Obamacare. I really do believe you all wish Obama was a dictator because then he could pass his jobs bill by himself!!!!
    Sorry but I'm waiting for any one of Obama's drones to point out a single thing Obama has done that has helped turn the economy around. And don't get me started on Obamacare, even the Unions are not begging for help because they cannot afford to pay for Obamacare, Doctors are quitting in record numbers because Obamacare is so bad and now that the government is starting to tell us the truth we know that Obamacare will do nothing to combat the high cost of healthcare but will serve to increase our out of pocket costs.

    Good try though, but it's almost too easy to counter anything Obama drones say.

    June 18, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Kevin

    @bjnj - "They hired/appointed these IRS people. AUTHORITY=RESPONSIBILITY. If Obama wants the AUTHORITY over the IRS"What in the name of all things rational are you babbling about? First, the senior management were political appointees... most of whom were appointed by the previous admin. Secondly, do you honestly believe that the White House vets all applications for government positions??? Get a grip. If you're going to wallow around in faux outrage because you've been told to do so by Faux news... the by all means roll around... but don't splatter the rest of us w/ the muck of your delusions.

    June 18, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Joann

    I think the White House has something to do with EVERYTHING. We all know gov't workers can't think on their own.
    They can only follow protocol.

    June 18, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. ranchotm

    to think that the IRS targeting was the work of low level employees is ridiculous. Government workers are not paid to create new programs on their own. To think that Obama would be stupid enough to have a direct link is also ridiculous. This is not a partisan issue, it is about silencing opposing points of view, which might be OK if you reside in Russia, China or Iran.

    June 18, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. seriously

    I find it hard to believe that individuals on here either 1) think that because political groups don't deserve tax exempt status and therefore the IRS did right or 2) think that the WH is not involved because of recent transcripts. I also find it hard to believe that this poll is correct. Now I haven't read ALL of these responses, but I have read a good deal of them – and mind you this is CNN where you will find more lefties than righties. Anyway, based on the responses/posts, there is clearly a majority of people that think that the WH or Obama team are involved. Whats even more crazy is that news organizations like CNN simply accept what the WH says and not what the people are asking? Don't give us a poll, give us the reason why Lerner took the 5th, what is she hiding and for whom? How many liberal organizations got the same scrutiny as the TEA party groups? If so many people are soo concerned about this and the truth – who's job is it to deliver the truth...we KNOW for sure that there is one group trying to hide the truth and another group willing to create additional stories to get to the truth.

    PLEASE HELP...seriously!

    June 18, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Name willard

    Presdient obama was fault that he was problems with team cabient at white house

    June 18, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. MrScott

    Let's face it, we know Obama hates anything that looks like a Republican, or anyone else who is not on his bandwagon. Can't see where the IRS would do such a directed thing on it's own. Some in the IRS must have a "get out of jail" card and that has to come from the top. Same with the Fast-and Furious debacle. Notice how people got shuffled around and no one got fired? Same with the other well thought out (snicker) screw-ups.

    June 18, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Dave

    TomB, Joe.

    The truth obviously bugs you because you rarely hear it.

    June 18, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Mark

    Again we have the nit wit right claiming that the absence of evidence is proof positive of a massive conspiracy. But these are the same people who claim their liberties are being ripped from their hands but when you ask them to list all the things they were able to do 1o years ago that they are no longer able to do because those activities are now illegal, they are suddenly speechless. There is no scandal or conspiracy except the one that exists inside the incredibly small minds of the soon to be defunct GOP.

    June 18, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. orrball

    you notice CNN does not release a story on Holly Paz why is that? She was right under Lois Lernerin in DC she tells congress a pretty good story where is the reporting

    June 18, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. dean

    Obama == Cheney, that is amazing. Since Biden is worst than Cheney, this administration is just a little of Carter as #2 from the bottom.

    June 18, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. BinFL

    @teryrayc – Sorry but I'm waiting for any one of Obama's drones to point out a single thing Obama has done that has helped turn the economy around.
    So you agree the economy is turning around? Let me see, you want him to claim responsibility for anything that may go wrong, but no responsibility for things going right. It sure isn't the Repub policies of trickle down economics that is turning it around now is it? The stimulus did have a positive effect but wasn't big enough and if the Repubs would vote for his jobs bill it would be much better. How can we not benefit from improving our infrastructure which the Repubs are so against since Obama is for.

    June 18, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. JRNY

    Does CNN stir the waters of every single tiny little thing in the world so that it looks like big news? Yes.

    June 18, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Sasha

    I'd like to think that the just released full transcripts would end this "scandal" and discredit Rep. Issa. I rather doubt it though.

    June 18, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. droppo

    Conservative media has done its job. Nothing linkingto the White House except the daily talking points handed to Fox news reporters and now people have heard the lie often enough to believe it. Dont forget cons also think Obama is from Kenya and that Obamacare is a socialist program. And that there is a chance Obama migjt be the Antichrist. People are dumb.

    June 18, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Joel

    GOP playing politics as usual.

    June 18, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. John Adams

    "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."

    Does the truth depend on poll results?

    June 18, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Indy63

    Where are the investigative reporters these days? Don't do a some research and find the truth, and report it. The current administration won't give that information out freely, anymore than the former administration would. You've got to go find it!

    Although with all the reporters' computers getting hacked, and can see why some are timid. First Fox News, now CBS News. I guess there's something to be said for a typewriter or a steno pad and pen!

    June 18, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. PacoParsifal

    Light enough matches to create enough smoke and people will begin to think there's a fire. GOP's got the matchbook and Obama's a lousy fireman.

    June 18, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. ART

    Pleeeaaase its a non issue. Speaking of smoke and fire PacoParsifal, Darrel Issa should really be careful.

    June 18, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Roxanne

    Obama is truly in on this IRS scandal. He is also in the Benghazi scandal. He was the one to order the stand down. Why can't the liberal idiots see this. They got this man elected and they are the people who have caused all this trouble in our government. The only way to get this right is to impeach Obama NOW

    June 18, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. carlos

    They are all crooks and liars that are plating us against each other. Of course the WH, specifically Vallery Plume, was involved. Both side pull this type of shenanigans.

    June 18, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Glenn NM

    Based on what evidence? Absolutely none. There are more ignorant people in this country than I thought.

    June 18, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Daremonai

    If it was designed to harass, it was about as ineffective as you can get.
    The idea that this was ordered from on high is not terribly plausible. It would be a high risk low reward proposition since it did not actually impact the targeted groups in the least.

    June 18, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Vence

    Obama is right he's not Dick Cheney. He is worst.
    Dick Cheney, at least have the baalls to accept that he did it.
    Obama said he would never do it, and he did it.

    June 18, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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