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. Byron Allen

    The corruption and abuse of power will end up at the Obama campaign. Obama will be implicated but will not face impeachment charges. To me his negligent homicide of 4 Americans is extremely serious and warrants impeachment and arrest of both he and Hillary. They refused aid and let Americans die because an Al Qaeda attack didn't fit their narrative that terrorism was finished. These are hard core vicious politicians we are dealing with who will lie and cover-up anything for political power.

    June 18, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  2. Tom

    Ya Think?

    June 18, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  3. JustAGuy

    Look at the end-game. Who did the IRS targeting benefit? None of these conservative 501c organizations could campaign on behalf of Romney. Now, who did the IRS targeting benefit? Right! Barack Obama!

    June 18, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  4. rickytick

    Abolish the IRS now.

    June 18, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  5. Badgerboy23

    The WH? No, probably not. People outside the immediate WH that work for Obama? You bet. Obama is just a puppet that has been controlled by some group for years. Why the "present" votes in the Illinois legislature? The guy is not that smart, he certainly did not believe 15 years ago that he could be POTUS. But someone else did. And those people are ruthless.

    June 18, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  6. rocky rococo

    Put it this way: something is seriously wrong with your brain if you don't think the current administration was complicitin attacking the Tea Party in an effort to suppress the vote against Obama. Axelrod's idea, Jarrett 's plan, Barry'sblessing.

    June 18, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  7. Name

    Of course it did .....and the administration will ignore it until the American public forgets it

    June 18, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  8. Brownlizard

    Of course it does. Everything sinister has its roots and is coordinated in the WH. One can start with Valerie Jarrett to find out where the trail begins. The use of government against its people and/or political enemies has only been seen in totalitarian dictatorships...until this administration.

    June 18, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  9. Nick

    Throw me in the yes category, it wasn't going on before Obama, it magically appeared during the last election after all of Obama's failures. Sounds like he was involved to me.

    June 18, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  10. Lois Hollands

    Of course the White house is involved, so are All the other scandals. This is bully politics !
    We will never know the complete truth with Liar In Chief and Eric Holder blocking and bluffing to stall a real
    This President is all talk and sound bites with Noaction and protection from the Media and their disregard the truth.
    Whatever happened to the Media being the watchdog for America? You all got in bed with the President !

    June 18, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  11. smitaroo

    Let's see 2 IRS bosses visit the WH between them about 300 times – previous administrations – 1, so you would need to be deaf, dumb & blind not to think the White House and BO's administration is behind this. It is the Chicago Way. I would bet this would eventually lead to Valerie and Axlerod. They are the criminals that got BO elected by unsealing sealed records. They know the media will not approach or investigate a black president because as we all know he never lies and is always right. The media is as unbelievable as the imposter in chief.

    June 18, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  12. banderlogtorpedo

    no one down the ladder would have risked the consequences of such behavior without cover from above.

    June 18, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  13. joking?

    Where are these polls at? Should be 100%

    June 18, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  14. Brenda

    Sure it does and Mitt Romney will wing by 7 points.

    June 18, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  15. smitaroo

    Of course it does – goes right to Jarrett & Axlerod who got the Big Stink BO-ama elected twice in Illinois getting sealed records unsealed. The Chicago Way – lie-cheat-steal to benefit ourselves – and they know the press will do nothing since they invested their souls to get this POS elected – they won't try to show that he's a criminal and building a vast governmental criminal empire.

    June 18, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  16. Wilson

    Of course the white house ordered it. And would have ordered it no matter who was president. Most all politicians these days are so corrupt. No single president does anything different than any past president. Some get caught, some don't.

    June 18, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  17. ascpgh

    Not "did", I think you might start preparing to comprehend "why". That answer is pretty simple and is easily projected by these activities which were clearly intentional rather than just coincidentally occurring at several levels, locations and by multiple individuals.

    Silence is a great way to avoid attachment of responsibility, it is no way to lead. This was supposed to be the guy who you wanted receiving the 3 AM phone calls.

    June 18, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. Stan

    Why does it take a long time to figure out that low level workers work to policies and procedures that come down from on high? This is a no brainier. JIMHO

    June 18, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  19. HarvTy

    Chicago political bullying + media that protects POTUS = loss of freedom for every American.

    June 18, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  20. Pierre Paul

    I wonder if the number people surveyed in May who believed the scandal led to the White House, has grown? Might be nice to ask them again instead of sampling all new people in June who may or may not have believed the same in May.

    Polls, to me, are merely indicative but, do not prove a trend unless the same people are sampled at least twice.

    June 18, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  21. Kathy

    Anyone who thinks they did has no clue how government works, and my trying to explain it to them here won't mean a thing to them - because they're just plain ignorant.

    June 18, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  22. chill

    It's amazing and sad to me that people can form an opinion like this given no evidence whatsoever. In fact, the Inspector General's report claims just the opposite; that there was no political push fromt he White House on this issue. That there was poor judgment or perhaps even some bias applied in holding up these applications based on their names is undeniable. But the real scandal in this whole mess is that these blatantly political organizations on both sides of the issue can take in money secretly to back their candidates under the guise of a "social welfare" tax exempt organization.

    June 18, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  23. JR

    Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House.

    In case all of these GOP scumbags forgot they LOST to Obama and many other Dems not just too long ago. The battle has already been won idiots.

    June 18, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  24. Destructivepolitics

    Hmm umm who benefited from the IRS scandal?

    Oh yeah, the TelePrompTer reading hipsterdufus

    June 18, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  25. Anonymous

    We know it always did.

    June 18, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
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