Obama summons top Treasury officials to discuss IRS targeting scandal

President Obama will meet Wednesday afternoon with leaders from the Treasury Department to discuss the administration's response to the IRS scandal.

Treasury’s Inspector General found the IRS improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny, subjecting groups with “Tea Party” in their name to extensive reviews as they sought tax-exempt status. 

Obama has called the conduct “outrageous” and on Tuesday vowed there would be accountability.


White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama would make "abundantly clear" in the meeting that he wants the Treasury Department to address the systematic failures identified in the report. He declined to say whether IRS staffers — including acting commissioner Steven Miller — would be fired.

"The president will be discussing these issues with Treasury leaders later in the day," Carney said.

"Actions need to be taken to hold people responsible for their failures and make sure this never happens again," Carney said.

Carney said Obama "feels strongly" that the administration should act swiftly to respond to the practices that were uncovered at the IRS.

"He expects people to be held accountable if they engaged in inappropriate activity, inappropriate conduct," Carney said. "He expects the Treasury Department and the IRS to take all the necessary actions to ensure that this kind of thing cannot happen again. And he insist that this happen because it is of the utmost importance, in the president's mind, that the American people understand and believe that the IRS applies our tax laws in a neutral and fair way to everyone."

The agency, the IG report found, asked for a range of “unnecessary information” from groups seeking tax-exempt status — including donor lists, issues important to that organization and the political affiliations and aspirations of group leaders.

The inspector general's report accused IRS leadership of "insufficient oversight" and employees of "inconsistent treatment of organizations applying for tax-exempt status."

The Justice Department on Tuesday opened a criminal investigation into the IRS’s actions as lawmakers on Capitol Hill demanded that the agency clean house.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner says it's Democrats' turn for a Tea Party movement House Republicans find silver lining in minority Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said some of the employees involved should be put behind bars.

“My question isn’t about who’s going to resign, my question is, who’s going to jail over this scandal?” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner says it's Democrats' turn for a Tea Party movement House Republicans find silver lining in minority Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE said at a Capitol press conference

“There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse,” Boehner added. “Someone made a conscious decision to harass and hold up these requests for tax-exempt status. I think we need to know who they are and whether they violated the law. Clearly someone violated the law.”

Senate Republicans sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday urging him to be "fully forthcoming" as Congress conducts multiple investigations into the IRS.

“We demand that your administration comply with all requests related to Congressional inquiries without any delay, including making available all IRS employees involved in designing and implementing these prohibited political screenings, so that the public has a full accounting of these actions,” read the letter, which was signed by all 45 Senate Republicans.

The president will also meet Wednesday with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainFormer astronaut running for Senate in Arizona returns money from paid speech in UAE Fox's Roberts: Trump 'glared at me like I've never seen him glare at me before' Lou Dobbs: Political criticism of McCain 'not an exhumation of his body' MORE (R-Ariz.) to discuss the progress of the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, Carney said.

The meeting with McCain at the White House will also include a discussion of "ongoing issues," including the push for a bipartisan budget deal.

The session with McCain comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee works through a markup of the Gang of Eight bill. Last week, McCain told CBS News her was "guardedly optimistic" about the prospects for the legislation.

"If there are efforts made to destroy that delicate compromise then it could fall apart," McCain said.

— This story was updated at 2:39 p.m.