Obama: IRS wrongdoing is ‘outrageous’

President Barack Obama gestures as he announces he will nominate Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx to succeed Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary, Monday, April 29, 2013, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

President Obama on Monday morning called the Internal Revenue Service's admitted targeting of conservative groups "outrageous" and said he "will not tolerate it."

"This is pretty straightforward," Obama said at a news conference. "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, 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."

Obama couched his statement a bit, stating that he didn't want to prejudge an inspector general's report on the matter. But the IRS last week admitted to the wrongdoing.

Obama added that the outrage should be bipartisan: "You should feel that way regardless of party."

"This is something that I think people are properly concerned about," Obama said. "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, it is contrary to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable, and it's got to be fixed."

Obama said he learned about the issue for the first time Friday, when the initial reports were published.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | May 13, 2013