Larry Kudlow
When you get right down to it, the political targeting and stalling of tax-exempt applications by the IRS was an effort to defund the tea party. Rick Santelli, one of the tea party founders and my CNBC colleague, was the first to make this point. I've taken it a step further: The IRS was taking the tea party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another tea party landslide.

There are a lot of numbers out there. Some say tea party applications for tax-exempt status averaged 27 months for approval, while applications from liberal groups averaged nine. In one extreme case, according to The Washington Post, the IRS granted the Barack H. Obama Foundation tax-exempt status in a speedy one-month timeframe. Yet some conservative groups waited up to three years, and some still haven't received approval.

But there can be only one reason for the stalled-out approval process for conservative groups. The IRS was trying to put them out of business. Thus far, there's not one wit of contradictory evidence.

Think of this: If the IRS wasn't politically targeting conservative groups, why did its leading spokespeople lie? This was not even cognitive dissonance. It was outright lying before Congress. Lois Lerner, a key player in the IRS's tax-exempt division, is being accused by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of no fewer than four lies. The inspector general's report shows that she knew about the targeting problem in June 2011, but wouldn't admit to it in correspondence with Congress over the next two years.

Then there's former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. He apparently knew about the targeting in May 2012, but told Congress in August 2012 that he didn't.

Or there's former IRS Acting Director Steve Miller, who was just pushed out. He also knew about the targeting in May 2012, but later refused to admit it to Congress during testimony.

In fact, the whole bloody agency may have known about it on Aug. 4, 2011. According to the Treasury Department IG report, various IRS bigwigs met that day to talk about the conservative-targeting problem. That meeting may have included the IRS's chief counsel; while the IG report says he was at the meeting, the IRS has denied that he was. But if one of his (SET ITAL) minions (END ITAL) was at the meeting, the chief counsel would have known about the problem.


Larry Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow is host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” which airs nightly from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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