President Obama took time today to address the recent scandal at the Internal Revenue Service. A leaked report announced that the IRS was red-flagged, or putting more scrutiny, on groups that had names which included terms like “Tea Party” or “Patriots” and filed for tax-exempt statues. The case has brought on bipartisan criticism, although unsurprisingly most of the criticism is coming from conservatives.
President Obama’s remarks at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron:
Well, let me take the IRS situation first. I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday. And this is pretty straightforward.
If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they’re applying it in a non-partisan way — applying the laws in a non-partisan way.
And you should feel that way regardless of party. I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, independent or a Republican. At some point, there are going to be Republican administrations. At some point, there are going to be Democratic ones. Either way, you don’t want the IRS ever being perceived to be biased and anything less than neutral in terms of how they operate. So this is something that I think people are properly concerned about.
The IG is conducting its investigation. And I am not going to comment on their specific findings prematurely, but I can tell you that if you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions. And people have to be held accountable, and it’s got to be fixed. So we’ll wait and see what exactly all the details and the facts are. But I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it. And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.