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By Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity irs

Amid withering accusations the Internal Revenue Service targeted tea party and other conservative groups with enhanced scrutiny, the agency faces another problem: it’s drowning in paperwork.

The IRS’ Exempt Organizations Division, which finds itself at the scandal’s epicenter, processed significantly more tax exemption applications in fiscal year 2012 by so-called 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations  — 2,774 — than it has since at least the late 1990s, according to an analysis of IRS records by the Center for Public Integrity.