U.S. President Barack Obama says he has "no patience" for the government tax agency targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
At a news conference Monday, Obama said the Internal Revenue Service's admission it had investigated conservative groups is "outrageous." The IRS apologized for its actions Friday after targeting groups affiliated with the Tea Party that oppose many of Obama's spending and tax policies.
The president, a Democrat, said "there's no place for that," no matter who is in the White House. He said any actions that led to the targeted investigations have "got to be fixed" and the officials involved have to be held "fully accountable."
Earlier, a Republican U.S. senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, called for the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Rubio said it "is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people's confidence under the current leadership.''
Rubio, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, called the IRS’s actions “seriously concerning,” and a “direct assault on our Constitution.”
Meanwhile, a leading Tea Party organization says it will consider demanding the IRS repay the group for a costly review of its activities. A coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, said the group is consulting with attorneys, because the group's application for tax-free status has taken a lot of time and cost a lot of money.
During a conference call Friday, a senior IRS official apologized for what the IRS admits was an inappropriate campaign to scrutinize conservative groups, but said the targeting was not partisan in nature.
As the inspector general who oversees the IRS investigates, though, Republican lawmakers are calling for hearings, and Tea Party leaders say they want to know more.