Obama Condemns IRS Scandal as "Outrageous"

The president says he will hold those who targeted conservative groups accountable.

Posted: 05/13/2013 12:09 PM EDT

Following a weekend of demands from friends and foes to address reports that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative organizations with the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their names, President Obama called the action "outrageous."

"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 is no place for it," Obama said during a joint appearance with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Rose Garden. "And, you know, they have to be held fully accountable because the IRS, as an independent agency, requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they're applying it in a nonpartisan way, applying the laws in a nonpartisan way."

The IRS reportedly required conservative groups to provide additional information to receive tax-exempt status and also gave extra scrutiny to organizations that focused on government spending, debt or taxes and making "America a better place to live," according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for an investigation and those responsible to step down.

Obama, who said he learned of the scandal from news reports along with everyone else, stressed the importance that the IRS be independent and nonpartisan no matter which party is in power.

"I have got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it," he said of the allegations. "And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this."

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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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