THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary __________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 15, 2013 STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT East Room 6:21 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I just finished speaking with Secretary Lew and senior officials at the Treasury Department to discuss the investigation into IRS personnel who improperly screened conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And I look forward to taking some questions at tomorrows press conference, but today, I wanted to make sure to get out to all of you some information about what were doing about this, and where we go from here. Ive reviewed the Treasury Department watchdogs report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. Its inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe youre from -- the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. Thats especially true for the IRS. So heres what were going to do. First, were going to hold the responsible parties accountable. Yesterday, I directed Secretary Lew to follow up on the IG audit to see how this happened and who is responsible, and to make sure that we understand all the facts. Today, Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, because given the controversy surrounding this audit, its important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward. Second, were going to put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again. And Ive directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the IGs recommendations right away. Third, we will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role. And our administration has to make sure that we are working hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed. Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to the American people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and in a way that doesnt smack of politics or partisan agendas. Because I think one thing that youve seen is, across the board, everybody believes what happened in -- as reported in the IG report is an outrage. The good news is its fixable, and its in everyones best interest to work together to fix it. Ill do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be -- in a fair and impartial way. And were going to have to make sure that the laws are clear so that we can have confidence that they are enforced in a fair and impartial way, and that theres not too much ambiguity surrounding these laws. So that's what I expect. That's what the American people deserve. And that's what were going to do. Thank you very much.
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