On May 10, days before the Treasury Inspector General released his report acknowledging the political profiling at the Internal Revenue Service, Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, told a meeting of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of American Bar Association that “between 2010 and 2012, we started seeing a very big uptick in the number of 501(c)(4) applications we were receiving.” IRS employees “centralized work” on these applications “for efficiency and consistency.”
It just so happened the groups in question were Tea Party and conservative groups.
Now that the Inspector General has confirmed in its May 14 report this “centralization” was based on “inappropriate criteria,” White House advocates continue to use the shoddy justification that the political targeting was all a result of well-intentioned efforts by the IRS to cope with a “remarkable influx of applications” from 501(c)(4)s ” (David Plouffe, 6/2/13), as the IRS was “flooded with applications” (David Axelrod, 6/2/13).
Trouble is, the Internal Revenue Services’ own records show the number of applications for tax-exempt status as either a 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(3) have not been growing, but declining.The IRS' own records show that the number of applications for tax-exempt status as either a 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(3) have not been growing, but declining.
Below are the numbers for the “Closures of Applications for Tax-Exempt Status, by Organization Type and Internal Revenue Code Section” for Fiscal Years 1990 to 2012 (the latest fiscal year for which the IRS provides such data).
Contrary to the impression fostered by Team Obama and Ms. Lerner, the combined total for tax-exempt applications closed by the IRS for both (c)(4) and (c)(3) groups peaked at 87,638 in FY 2007 and had declined 38% by FY 2012, when the IRS closed 54,522 tax-exempt applications of which 2,774 were for 501(c)(4) status and 51,748 for 501(c)(3) status.
The number of 501(c)(4) applications closed did hit 2,774 in FY 2012, up from FY 2011 and FY 2010. But in FY 2010 when the IRS started targeting Tea Party and conservative groups, the number of application closures had fallen 9% to 1,741 from the previous fiscal year’s total of 1,922.
Since many Tea Party and conservative groups applied for 501(c)(3) status, it’s also interesting to note that those applications dropped from 70,624 in FY 2009 to 59,945 in FY 2010, a drop of 15%.
So where is the “remarkable influx of applications” that left the IRS “flooded” in 2010?
Where is the “very big uptick” that led someone in the IRS to order the targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups as an “efficiency measure?”
Team Obama shows remarkable message coordination and discipline, but when everyone is spouting the same prevarications, it undermines the credibility of the administration’s defense and all involved in delivering it.
How can they expect us to believe them on anything else?
This article originally appeared on Foxnews.com on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.