Obama: IRS Targeting Conservatives 'Outrageous'

Image: Obama: IRS Targeting Conservatives 'Outrageous'

Monday, 13 May 2013 12:15 PM

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Allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups are "outrageous," President Barack Obama said in his first comments about the growing scandal.

He pledged to make sure the problems are fixed.

Speaking at a news conference alongside visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama said he learned about the accusations from news reports on Friday.

"If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, that is outrageous," the president said.

"There is no place for it and they have to be held fully accountable."

Ironically, Obama was asked about the IRS seconds after Cameron spoke about the need to ensure multinational companies don't avoid paying taxes.

Obama said the IRS needs "absolute integrity" and must apply the law in a nonpartisan way. Targeting specific groups, whether on the left or the right, is wrong, he said. 

"You don't want the IRS ever being perceived as biased or anything less than neutral," he said. "This is something that people are properly concerned about.

"If you've got the IRS operating in anything other than a neutral way, that is outrageous and pernicious and has got to be fixed.

"I have no patience with it," he added.

The IRS has apologized, attempting to blame low-level employees.

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