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House speaker suggests jail time for violations in IRS scandal

House Speaker John Boehner holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
House Speaker John Boehner holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner raised the possibility of jail time on Wednesday for law violations in the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny.

"My question isn't about who is going to have to resign, my question is who is going to jail over this scandal," Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, told reporters.

The Justice Department on Tuesday began a criminal investigation, while a number of congressional Republicans called for the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner, Steven Miller.

Boehner said "there are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse," referring to the IRS giving extra scrutiny to requests for tax-exempt status by Tea Party movement groups and other conservative groups.

"Someone made a conscious decision to harass and hold up these requests," Boehner said.

"We need to know who they are, whether they violated the law. Clearly, someone violated the law," Boehner said.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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