President Barack Obama on Monday called the Internal Revenue Service’s admission that Ohio branch employees singled out conservative non-profit groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election “outrageous,” promising to hold officials accountable should an independent review find misconduct.
“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,” Obama said during a joint press conference with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. “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 nonpartisan way. Applying the laws in a nonpartisan way. And you should feel that way regardless of party. I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, Independent or a Republican.”
He added: “The [Inspector General’s office] 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 nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous to our traditions and people have to be held accountable and it needs to be fixed.”
Senate Democrats on Monday vowed to investigate the agency’s conduct. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) went so far as to call on the resignation of the current acting IRS commissioner, Steven T. Miller. Miller was deputy commissioner when the targeting took place.
“[I]t is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership,” Rubio wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. “Therefore, I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public.”