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In IRS mess, how we can believe anything Team Obama is telling us?

 

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?

Fiscal Year 501 c 4 501 c 3 COMBINED
2012 2,774 51,748 54,522
2011 1,777 55,319 57,096
2010 1,741 59,945 61,686
AVERAGE 2,097 55,671 57,768
2009 70,624 70,624 72,546
2008 79,107 79,107 80,599
2007 85,771 85,771 87,638
2006 83,350 83,350 85,283
2005 77,539 77,539 79,145
2004 80,651 80,651 82,577
2003 83,843 83,843 86,084
2002 79,379 79,379 81,783
AVERAGE 1,924 80,033 81,957
2001 2,039 74,361 76,400
2000 2,312 74,534 76,846
1999 2,043 65,058 67,101
1998 2,411 68,796 71,207
1997 2,282 65,002 67,284
1996 2,282 57,537 59,819
1995 2,282 56,408 58,690
1994 2,456 53,014 55,470
1993 2,846 48,986 51,832
1992 2,867 47,172 50,039
1991 2,788 40,634 43,422
1990 3,007 40,373 43,380

 

Source: Closures of Applications for Tax-Exempt Status, by Organization Type and Internal Revenue Code Section for Fiscal Years 1990-2012.

Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel (FNC) as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.