In the wake of three major scandals, involving Executive Branch involvement in Benghazi, and indirect involvement through the IRS and DOJ, the Obama administration continues to deflect a suddenly critical press. New details are still emerging as the wave of scandals unfolds.
The White House is still denying knowledge of the IRS scandal until it came out in the news.
To review, the IRS scandal began when a seemingly spontaneous apology was issued on May 10 from the IRS for targeting groups with “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” “9/12,” and other words in their names for audits. The IRS claims this targeting was not political or partisan in nature, but instead an attempt to efficiently deal with an increase in applications.
In a Friday, May 10 press briefing by Lois Lerner, director of the IRS exempt organizations division, statements indicated the targeting of TEA Party and other conservative organizations was in part due to a drastic increase in the number of 501(c)(4) applications. However, a fact-check review by the Washington Post has concluded the uptick did not begin until after the targeting had already started.
In other words, while there was an increase in 2010, it was relatively small. The real jump did not come until 2011, long after the targeting of conservative groups had been implemented. Also, it appears Lerner significantly understated the number of applications in 2010 (“1500”) in order to make her claim of “more than doubled.”
The discrepancies over who ordered or otherwise authorized the targeting of conservative groups has led some to call for an end to the IRS. It was 100 years ago that the Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was passed, and the IRS became the central processing organization of all American income taxes, made legal by the passage of the Amendment.