Juliet Eilperin and William Branigin
Mon, 13 May 2013 16:42 CDT
In a press conference Monday, President Obama addressed the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of groups critical of government, and said, "I've got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it."
President Obama on Monday described the reported targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service as "outrageous" and intolerable, and he called for those responsible to be held "fully accountable."
Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama said he first learned about the issue Friday from news reports. He said the IRS must be perceived to operate with "absolute integrity" to give the public confidence that it is applying the law "in a nonpartisan way."
"If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous, and there's no place for it," Obama said. "And they have to be held fully accountable."
Obama addressed the issue amid a growing furor on Capitol Hill over revelations that the Internal Revenue Service
used ostensibly political criteria in scrutinizing groups applying for tax-exempt status.
At various points over the past two years, IRS officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution,
according to documents in an audit
conducted by the agency's inspector general.