In other words, was the Tea Party Movement ineffective in the 2012 election cycle due to the blizzard of paperwork under which it was buried by the IRS? This argues the answer is yes. My general philosophy in life is few things happen for just one reason and I'm guessing that's true of how the 2012 election cycle played out. That doesn't mean that an effort to hobble the Tea Party Movement wasn't a factor. I certainly believe that it was.
You have the public pronouncement by President Obama of these "dangerous groups" right around the time the IRS began it's dirty work. As this piece puts it:
The bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes-more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 - 8.5 million votes compared to Obama's victory margin of 5 million.
A problem with this theory is that the TPM was already a potent force in the 2010 elections. As a result, I believe the federal government illegally used the IRS to thwart its further growth. But there was an existing infrastructure that wasn't as energized in 2012 as it was in 2010. But I firmly believe that the IRS actions, quite intentionally, stunted further growth of the movement. And that certainly could have been a significant factor in how things went in November, 2012.