At a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, President Obama said that IRS targeting of conservative groups was unacceptable.
“If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on … then that’s outrageous, and there’s no place for it,” Obama said. “They have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity.”
The president also said that he only learned about the targeting on Friday when the story broke. After a flood of tax-exemption applications reached the agency after the 2010 Citizens United ruling, the IRS set ambiguous standards to separate political organizations from those promoting “social welfare.” According to The Washington Post, the Service chose 298 of the applications for special scrutiny, 72 of which had “tea party” in their title, 13 of which had “patriot”, and 11 of which had “9/12”.
As of January 15, 2012, the IRS’s political test for “social welfare” groups targeted “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement,” according to an audit by the IRS inspector general.
If Congress chooses to investigate this serious case of partisan paranoia, I hope President Obama keeps his word: fire any and all of those who would dare place special scrutiny upon groups who educate on our founding document.