Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on Monday urged President Barack Obama to apologize for the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, criticizing the Obama administration's decision to "not profile terrorists but profile patriots."
"I think the president has to say he's going to open up totally, he's going to demand everybody meet with Congress, go to the hearings. He's going to fire everybody he can legally fire who's been involved in this," Gingrich said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "And they've to look at changes... Remember, this is the administration which will not profile terrorists but profile patriots, profile constitutional groups? I mean, this is almost madness."
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney declared it was indeed inappropriate for the IRS to target tea party groups. But he brushed aside questions about whether the White House itself would investigate.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that according to IRS officials, no one outside the agency was involved in developing the criteria for scutinizing conservative groups.
During the MSNBC appearance, Gingrich said he found the developments to be "very, very chilling."
"[Obama] owes every tea party in America, every group called patriot, every group that wants to study the Constitution an apology," Gingrich said. "How can you have an American government profile against the word 'patriot'? I mean, there's something culturally sick if the American government says 'Boy, you put that word constitution in your name, we're going to come after you.'"
Other Republicans have called on Obama to speak out against the IRS in the wake of the scandal.
"It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review, and I think it’s very disappointing that the president hasn’t personally condemned this and spoken out," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said during a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."