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Obama blasts IRS tea party targeting as 'intolerable,' 'inexcusable'

President Barack Obama released a statement on the IRS accusations tonight after Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a probe into the scandal.

Eric holder 2012 01 16Enlarge
US Attorney General Eric Holder testifies during a hearing on the oversight of the Justice Department before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC, on Dec. 8, 2011. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama blasted the findings tonight of an investigation into the IRS targeting the Tea Party and other conservative groups as "intolerable and inexcusable."

Ineffective management at the IRS allowed agents to target the groups for 18 months when they applied for tax-exempt status, according to the investigation by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

"The report's findings are intolerable and inexcusable," Obama said in a statement tonight. "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."

A criminal investigation was ordered earlier in the day by Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder called the behavior “outrageous and unacceptable,” Politico reported.

There were few details available as far as what laws might have been broken.

“The FBI is coordinating with the Justice Department to see if any laws were broken in connection with those matters related to the IRS,” Holder said, according to USA Today. “We’re examining the facts to see if there were any criminal violations.”

What is known is, beginning in early 2010, the IRS intentionally delayed applications for tax-exempt status from groups with Tea Party or patriot in their names.

IRS staff would delay the requests by asking for additional information, such as donor lists, USA Today said.

The investigation is centered in around IRS offices in Cincinnati, where all such applications are sent.

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