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Doing Math for the IRS

Posted by on May 18, 2013
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Listening to recent IRS testimony before Congress we were told that the targeting of specific groups that has been taking place over the last couple of years has been nothing more than an attempt to create efficiency and was by no means meant to be a partisan witch hunt.  Basically, we are supposed to believe that this is all just a simple misunderstanding because the IRS was merely looking for searchable subsets to enhance the application process.  Okay, let’s look at this statement from a logical standpoint to see just how practical it really is. 

According to the Oxford Dictionary there are approximately 171,000 words in the English language.  The average high school educated American uses approximately 45,000 of these.  Now I’m not a math whiz, but I do at least understand the principles of exponential numbers, so I’m pretty certain that by combining keywords into small practical naming phrases (i.e. Tea Party, or Social Justice) the mathematically possible number of outcomes would be enormous, any combination of which could then become a searchable item. 

Here’s what we know so far.  Over the course of several years there were at least 4 different lists that were used to create these searchable criteria from.  In all of those infinite possible combinations of search choices (the 501C applications can be used for all sorts of non-profit groups beyond just politics) not a single one of those lists contained a benign entry (i.e. Polite Society, or Dog Rescue).  Nor did any of those lists contain a single entry for anything with a liberal slant (i.e. Pro Abortion, or Gun Control).  As it turns out though, what every single entry did have in common was a slant toward singling out organizations with specifically more conservative, or at least anti-liberal sounding combinations (i.e. Tea Party, or Right to Life).  Once again, I’m not a math wizard, but I would venture to guess that the odds of that happening purely by chance would probably fall into roughly the same range as the odds of hitting the Powerball Lottery. 

So let’s just play devil’s advocate for a brief moment and assume that low and behold they did just happen to hit the magic ticket and it truly was nothing more than a simple astronomically rare anomaly that occurred to produce those exact search lists.  That still doesn’t justify the lack of oversight, especially when there are known laws in place to make such targeting practices by the IRS illegal in the first place.  Enhanced scrutiny by the IRS is meant to be a totally random “spot checking” affair specifically to maintain fairness and to keep partisanship OUT of the process.  Not only that, but even if the search criteria were legal that still doesn’t excuse the absurdities found in the letters the IRS presented to those groups.  As it turns out many of the questions and requests were themselves illegal as well.  Nor does it explain the extraordinary delays in approving applications where liberal sounding groups have averaged 90 days for approval while conservative sounding groups have averaged 9 times that long (many of which are STILL pending to this day). 

As far as I’m concerned, and simple logic proves, any attempt to claim before Congress that this has been anything but a partisan witch hunt constitutes perjury.  There is no question that the IRS has been arrogantly abusing its power.  Based on how widespread we now know this abuse to be there is also no doubt that this issue travels up the chain of command far beyond a couple of “low level rogue employees from Cincinnati”.  There are a lot of people who are guilty either by direct involvement, or are just as culpable through a dereliction of duty.  Either way, apologies and firings aren’t good enough.  The IRS is typically thought of as a number crunching organization.  However, for those that have been involved in this scandal, the only numbers they should be concerning themselves with in the future are those assigned to the front of their prison uniforms.

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