Over the past several years, the IRS has slowly been defunded, which means there are fewer resources available for the IRS to go after the ultra-wealthy armed with a team of lawyers. After the search warrant was executed at former President Donald Trump golf club, Mar-a-Lago, GOP members have stepped up their attacks, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
In a recent tele-town hall by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the lawmaker promoted the false House Republican talking point that the IRS was hiring 87,000 agents who would audit everyone in the United States.
"That was just another one of the reasons why I voted no on the legislation,” Cole said. “Sorry that we couldn’t defeat it.”
Republicans all voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which gave $80 billion to the IRS over 10 years to enforce the tax code. It was two days after the FBI executed the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
“If the FBI can raid the home of a former US President, imagine what 87,000 more IRS agents will do to you,” tweeted Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN).
"A job listing on the IRS website weeks before the legislation became law noted that applicants should be ready to 'Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary,'" wrote the Post. It sent REpublicans into the stratosphere of conspiracy panic.
“Are they going to have a strike force that goes in with AK-15s already loaded, ready to shoot some small-business person in Iowa?” ranted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on "The Fox & Friends."
“It’s political suicide to raise people’s taxes and double the size of the most unpopular bureaucratic agency, but Democrats chose to do that," lied a Republican strategist who refused to give their name to the Post. "No one likes paying taxes, no one likes being harassed by the IRS and being squeezed for everything they have. So it’s an easy selling point to voters."
Republicans are desperately trying to paint Democrats as raising taxes on Americans, though the bill passed only raises taxes on those making over $400,000 a year.
“And under my plan, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in new taxes. Nobody,” Biden said in a speech Tuesday evening.
When the GOP's talking point didn't seem to be working, they started claiming that everyday Americans were all going to get audited. It implies that they weren't being audited already. The problem is that everyday Americans are already getting audited; it's the millionaires and billionaires that are getting a pass because it's too difficult and costly.
The report explained that the GOP is elated by the Democratic bill that added to the IRS budget. The reality is that in 2020 an IRS report showed they processed just 7.4 million filings and in 2021 they were able to process 35.8 million in that same time period. It meant that most Americans got their tax returns faster.
The attacks on the IRS are now adding to the anti-government sentiment seen among supporters of Trump. Already FBI agents have been threatened and doxxed. A Cincinnati FBI office was attacked by a Trump supporter who also was at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“If Joe Biden is willing to use the federal government to go after the big guy,” referring to Trump, “if they can do it to people in power, what can they do to you with no army of lawyers and no big voice?” said another GOP strategist.
Other Republican strategists have claimed that Democrats are focusing on the IRS when they should be funding more police at the border. Trump previously sent National Guard soldiers to the border resulting in a report that most of them were simply sitting around with nothing to do. When Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tried the same ploy, it too was a "disaster."
After so many attacks on federal agents, it's as if Rep. Cole realized his disparaging comments came with a risk.
“I would just tell everybody, please, no matter where you are on the issue, no matter how mad you are, please don’t do anything untoward,” Cole told those at the tele-town hall. “That’s just not appropriate and dangerous for all concerned.”
Cole's home state is no stranger to anti-government terrorism. In 1995, anti-government activist Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.