The actions of Internal Revenue Service employees in targeting small-government groups for extra scrutiny was “intolerable,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
Obama issued the statement hours after an inspector general’s report was released that criticized management at the agency as ineffective.
“The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS,” the president said. “The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.”
Obama has directed Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to “hold those responsible for these failures” accountable, the statement said.
The IRS has admitted that it singled out groups for extra scrutiny based solely on whether their names included words such as “tea party” and “patriot,” raising questions about whether partisan motivation drove the agency’s actions.
The practices, which the agency first acknowledged May 10, are the subject of four separate congressional investigations and a Department of Justice criminal probe.