The peak year for 501c applications was 2007. In 2010 when all of this IRS mess got rolling applications were down from the peak by about 23%.
The IRS says they were flooded with applications. It could be that they felt as if they were flooded. After all when you’re busy conjuring up to 90 questions per application ranging from the potentially to an outright assault on the rights of free speech, religion affiliation and assembly; those IRS folks must have been exhausted.
Flash back to 2010. The Tea Party was, thankfully, raising hell with ObamaCare, deficits, spending and the stimulus. They were also raising hell with Republicans who had simply become Democrat light. The Tea Party was, despite the rhetoric then and now, frightening to Democrats and establishment Republicans alike.
What to do? How to blunt the growing Tea Party movement? The Tea Party was pure grassroots, no real national organization, no central authority, no single individual to attack. Hell, we need a plan, these guys could hurt us!
First we need the President to demonize the movement. Check! Can we get him to call them Tea Baggers? Check! Okay, we’ve got the Presidential dog whistle at full volume; all the President’s men…. and women were clear on the strategic imperative, how about tactics?
Four key tactics: limit the ability to raise money, limit the ability organize, intimidate those that do want to organize and make it expensive. Check, check, check, check!
As the 2012 campaign got going the President’s context for the election did not look rosy. The employment and economic numbers were such that no President had ever been re-elected on those numbers. The strongly oppose numbers were high, the right track, wrong track was 65% wrong track. What’s left, what’s a President do to? Answer’ lots of money and the ability to out organize the opposition. One way to out organize the opposition is to simply keep them from organizing; addition by subtraction. Check!
“Hey dude, the IRS can do most of that! You know 501C applications, audits of folks who presume to speak their mind and associate with the likeminded. Heck, we can even audit their businesses. We can get our hands on their donor lists and drop it off to opposing groups. We can flood them with paperwork; make them wait so that they lose donors and grants because their 501C apps have not been approved. Man! This is perfect!! Applicants and donors alike intimidated, hell we can even audit some of the donors; in for a penny in for a pound!” “Let’s get Lois Lerner on the job, she knows what she’s doing, she did it before at the FEC”
“We’ll get all this information and when we know for sure where they’re coming from we can bring in the foot soldiers; you know, FBI, OSHA, ATF, EPA. If that doesn’t scare the shit out of them I don’t know what will.”
“Dude, what about the media? This could look bad in the press if they ever found out.” “Don’t worry, we’ve got Stephanie Cutter in the meetings with the IRS and the media is still immersed in their orgasmic tributes to everything from the President’s intellect to the First Lady’s arms.”
“No problems there!”
“Lets take a break, I’m exhausted!”