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Obama Calls IRS Scandal 'Intolerable and Inexcusable'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has a few choice words for the Internal Revenue Service over the way it dealt with the Tea Party and other conservative groups.

In a statement late Tuesday, the president called the IRS' actions "intolerable and inexcusable," and said he supports the recommendations of an Inspector General's report.

The report, which Obama said he reviewed, formally accused the tax agency of targeting Tea Party groups applying for a tax-exempt status.

The FBI is now launching a criminal investigation of the IRS.

Read Obama's full statement below:

I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.  And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable.  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. 

I’ve directed [Treasury] Secretary [Jack] Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again.  But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong.  Public service is a solemn privilege.  I expect everyone who serves in the federal government to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards.  So do the American people.  And as President, I intend to make sure our public servants live up to those standards every day.

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