An analysis by the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) figures has found that audits of tax-exempt charities have increased 79% under President Barack Obama.
GAI President Peter Schweizer reports that from 2001 to 2008, the IRS audited an average of 6,205 tax-exempt organizations a year. From 2009 to 2011, the average number of returns audited jumped to 11,111.
GAI says the spike in audits is not explained by a greater number of returns being filed. In fact, for the years examined, GAI says the IRS received a lower average rate of returns under Obama (819,417) than under President George W. Bush (847,898).
The GAI’s findings come on the heels of a controversial White House gathering last month with the heads of charitable organizations, wherein the Obama Administration allegedly engaged in “bullying” and “intimidation” tactics to scare charities into supporting Obama’s tax hikes on the wealthy or face the prospect of losing their tax-exempt status. Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) condemned the incident in a joint statement:
What the White House did today is disturbingly reminiscent of how it conducted itself during congressional consideration of Obamacare-telling groups that they better back the White House, or else. Bullying isn’t leading. These kind of intimidation tactics are unacceptable, and they need to stop now.
Why is the Obama Administration putting the squeeze on charities? Some conservatives like California Republican Party Chairman Thomas G. Del Beccaro say it is part of a “war on charity” designed to squelch the work charitable organizations perform because they detract from the president’s big government agenda:
Obama truly is a big government liberal. He believes that government should be at the center of our lives. He believes government knows better and should set the rules for helping others. Look no farther than Obamacare to gauge his philosophy on caring for people.
Simply stated, Obama doesn’t value private charities interfering with his vision of a centralized government.
Schweizer says that the Obama Administration’s decision to dramatically increase audits of tax-exempt charities at a time when so many organizations are already struggling to stay afloat is wrongheaded.
“Whatever the White House’s motivation, boosting IRS audits 79% at a time when so many charities are already struggling to secure scarce resources to serve their missions seems, at minimum, a gross misallocation of time, energy, and taxpayer dollars,” says Schweizer. “Either way, it needs to stop.”