“There was a surge of applications in 2010!”
At least, this is the explanation the IRS has offered for giving special treatment for conservative and tea party groups seeking to be registered as 501(c) entities for tax purposes (note that no, as in not one, conservative or tea party application was approved for over 27 months, from late 2010 through the 2012 election, when at the same time many liberal groups were approved, typically after a wait of no more than 9 months).
The problem with the IRS explanation is that is a baldfaced lie. From the US government’s IG report, we have this graphic:
As reported by the Atlantic:
“[W]e saw a big increase in these kind of applications, many of which indicated that they were going to be involved in advocacy work,” Lerner said.
But Todd Young, a Republican congressman from Indiana, pointed out at Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing with former acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George that this was not the case, according to the very data the IRS provided to the Treasury IG’s office.
There were, he noted, actually fewer applications for tax-exempt status by groups seeking to be recognized as social-welfare organizations that year than the previous one, according to this IRS data. The real surge in applications did not come until 2012 — the year the IRS stopped the practice of treating the Tea Party class of groups differently from others.
Bear with me for a moment.
In 1972, Richard Nixon wanted to run against the weakest possible Democratic opponent and then win every state in the general election. After he decided this, a slew of strong Democratic opponents imploded on the campaign trail. The only Democrat left standing was George McGovern, who was so far to the left of the American public that he was unelectable, and who ran one of the most spectacularly inept presidential campaigns in history. And Nixon won all but one of state in the general election. While there was no hard evidence that Nixon’s campaign team ever did anything to interfere with the Democratic primaries, beyond some low-level and fairly innocuous dirty tricks, we have the still-unexplained break in and wiretapping of the DNC headquarters, and we have common sense. It simply could not have been a coincidence that Nixon magically got everything he wanted–no one is that lucky. The White House had to have been up to its ears in no good. The Watergate break-in was the tip of the iceberg, and everyone with common sense knew it. This, along with Nixon’s lies, more than anything else destroyed his presidency.
In 201o, tea party groups smashed the Democratic Party in the mid-terms. Democratic leaders, including President Obama, were publicly fretting about these groups and how unpatriotic they were, and there were many high profile attempts even then to silence them and shut them down. By 2012, these groups were largely passive or even silent, and no longer played a factor in electoral politics. If the 2012 election had been a repeat of the 2010 election, the GOP would have won the presidency, the House, and the Senate in a landslide.
What changed on the ground? What made 2010 so different from 2012? The issues were still the same, and many people were still upset.
We are left with the fact that Obama and the Democrats wanted the tea party movement neutered and a non-factor in the 2012 election, and that soon afterwards these groups became so mired in paperwork from the IRS and felt so threatened by the questions being asked that many gave up the fight.
The claim is being made that only a handful of low-level IRS employees were involved. And indeed, we may never see any evidence that the criminal conspiracy (and yes, it is a criminal conspiracy) went higher than some field office. However, given everything, common sense dictates that whatever the evidence might show, the White House had to have been coordinating things. The coincidence of Obama’s wish that these groups would simply go away and the activities of the IRS is simply too great. Low-level bureaucrats have neither the willingness nor the authority to pull off such a stunt–as a group, they will not stick their necks out for anyone. They had to be acting on orders from the top.
There will be a criminal investigation regarding this matter. The real question is whether whistle blowers will emerge, and whether Obama and his minions will succeed in interfering with the investigation.
Essentially, Obama subverted a presidential election. What are the chances that he can subvert an investigation as well? Surely, he will try, as if he does not, his presidency is finished.