Obama issues unusual evening statement, calls IRS scandal ‘inexcusable’

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Under pressure from a growing number of scandals, President Obama issued an official statement Tuesday night — an unusual late evening move — condemning the Internal Revenue Service for their actions in targeting conservative groups.

Earlier in the day, the agency’s inspector general released its report which outlined lax oversight, and noted the policies of targeting that began in early 2010. The report says the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to single out organizations applying for tax-exempt status, based on their name.

Obama said the findings were “intolerable and inexcusable” and wants those responsible to be held accountable. Here is his statement in its entirety:

I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.  And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable.  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 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.

I’ve directed Secretary Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again.  But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong.  Public service is a solemn privilege.  I expect everyone who serves in the federal government to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards.  So do the American people.  And as President, I intend to make sure our public servants live up to those standards every day.

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