First, the IRS admitted to applying extraordinary scrutiny to applications for non-profit tax exempt status submitted by organizations affiliated with the "Tea Party Movement." The IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio responsible for examining applications for tax exempt status interpreted phrases in the names of the organizations or their mission statements such as patriots, tea party, constitution, etc. as "red flags" to apply additional scrutiny to such applications.
Some IRS officials blamed the lack of written criteria for evaluating applications. Why do IRS agents need written criteria to do the right thing?
Others claim that only lower level agents made the decisions. A recently released IRS Inspector General Report, however, notes that front line upper level managers made the decisions. Moreover, acting director of the IRS Steven Miller lied about it when testifying during Congressional hearings.
In a press conference, President Obama claimed that he had "no patience for it" and that he "will not tolerate it." The FBI has begun its own investigation.
Second, administration admitted to seizing phones records of reporters for the Associated Press news syndicate. In contrast to the administration's condemnation of IRS policies regarding the tea party movement, the Obama administration defended the IRS seizures as a matter of national security. The administration sought to identify who leaked information about thwarted terrorist plots.
The attempt to stop information leaks from the administration resembles the efforts of the old "White House Plumbers" assigned the task to stopping "leaks" in the Nixon administration.