By May 14, the basic reality of IRS behavior during 2010-2012, while it was still directed by a Bush appointee, still had not emerged. The director of the tax exempt division of IRS said that about 300 applications for 501(c )(4) status were given special scrutiny, and of those about 75 were for "tea party" or similarly tagged organizations.
The IRS has not indicated who made the other 225 applications that got special attention, but they were apparently not conservative or tea party-like groups.
According to the IRS, not one of the applications was denied. According to the head of the Kentucky 9/12 Project, his group refused to answer IRS questions and was approved anyway.
"There's absolutely no targeting" of conservative groups, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman testified to Congress in March 2012. Shulman is a former Bush appointee who completed his term in November 2012.
Senator Rubio Demands Phantom Resignation
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on May 13, Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla, wrote, awkwardly, in part:
"Furthermore, it is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people's confidence under the current leadership. Therefore, I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner's resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public."
Although there is no IRS Commissioner currently, Rubio's office said the letter was referring to acting commissioner Steven T. Miller, who was Shulman's deputy and who served as deputy commissioner for services and enforcement during the time alleged "targeting" took place, a position he continues to hold. According to his official biography on the IRS website:
"As Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, Miller provides direction and oversight for all major decisions affecting the four taxpayer-focused IRS Divisions: Wage and Investment, Large Business and International, Small Business/Self-Employed, and Tax Exempt and Government Entities.
"He also provides the executive direction and leadership for the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, which investigates income tax evasion and related financial crimes; the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, which administers the laws and regulations governing the practice of tax professionals before the IRS; and the IRS Whistleblower Office, which receives information on tax cheating and provides appropriate rewards to whistleblowers."
Miller Memo Spikes Tax Collection from Big Donors
Miller, a 25-year career employee of the IRS, published an op-ed article in the May 14 issue of USA Today, saying that "we should have done a better job," adding:
"Mistakes were made, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan motivation". We sought to centralize work in this area in 2010 because our office of Exempt Organizations observed a sharp increase in the number of section 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) applications coming from groups potentially engaged in political campaign intervention. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of applications for 501(c)(4) status more than doubled, from 1,591 to 3,398.