Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, May 10, 2013
President Barack Obama acknowledged Monday that he is “properly concerned” about the allegations that the Internal Revenue Service has been improperly targeting conservative groups and that he has “no patience” for these kinds of partisan attacks. He did not, however, condemn or apologize for the IRS’s decision to specifically target conservatives or Tea Party groups during the briefing.
“I’ve got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it and we will make sure we find out exactly what happened on this,” he said during a joint White House press conference with British Prime Minster David Cameron.
Top officials at the nation’s tax collection agency admitted Friday that they used extra scrutiny when reviewing the tax returns of conservative groups that had words like “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their tax documents. Earlier Monday, a lawyer for several tea party organizations, including TheTeaParty.net and Combat Veterans Training Group, announced that they are considering suing the IRS for the extra scrutiny.
Obama said Monday that Americans should be concerned about these allegations regardless of their political affiliation, adding that he doesn’t want the American people to believe that this was acceptable behavior or that his Democratic administration condones the behavior.
“You should feel that way regardless of party, regardless of whether you’re a Democrat, Independent or Republican,” Obama said. “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 or anything less than neutral in terms of how they operate.”
The president also noted that he first found out about the allegations through the media on Friday, and that he will make sure that those responsible for the scrutiny at the White House will be held fully accountable.
“This is pretty straightforward,” Obama said. “If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the type of practices that have been reported on, and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous, and there’s no place for it. 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 nonpartisan way.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney added during his daily press briefing Monday that the Inspector General’s office was notified of the IRS situation back in April, but did not alert the president about it until Friday.