Critics slam Republicans for now attacking Internal Revenue Service agents just days after targeting the FBI.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has savagely claimed IRS agents armed with assault rifles are preparing to show up on Americans’ doorsteps to check their taxes once the agency has $80 billion extra to enforce the law and detect cheaters.
The funding and tax changes are part of the Cut Inflation Act that will then travel to the White House where President Joe Biden will sign it.
“Are they going to have a strike force to match [AR]-15 already loaded, ready to shoot a small contractor in Iowa? Grassley asked Thursday on Fox & Friends.
“I think they’re going after middle class people and small businesses, because basically they think… they’re not paying their fair share, and we’re going to sue them,” he said. he adds.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has falsely warned that a “new army of 87,000 IRS will come for you” if you “make $75,000 or less.”
Critics have complained that such claims are not only outright false, but dangerous for officers.
“Contrary to misinformation from opponents of this legislation, small businesses or households earning $400,000 a year or less will not see an increased chance of being audited,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote Thursday at the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Friday that “the arsonist conspiracy theories Republicans are pushing about armed tax officials are growing increasingly dangerous and out of control. . High-ranking Republicans are saying outrageously irresponsible things,” he added.
“Given the social media chatter we are already seeing, it is all too easy to imagine individuals using these conspiracy theories to justify violence against public officials and their families,” Wyden said in the statement.
The IRS funding hike, which will run for 10 years, is intended to help the IRS enforce various provisions of the new Inflation Reduction Act — and increase audits of wealthy fraudsters.
It is expected to generate more than $700 billion in new revenue by cracking down on tax evasion, taxing stock buybacks and extending the cap on business loss deductions.
Members of the so-called “law and order” party seem to increasingly attack those in the federal government who enforce the law.
Earlier this week, following the FBI’s raid of Donald Trump’s Florida home and Mar-a-Lago golf resort, Trump called the FBI “sleazy,” with Rep. Paul Gosar urging Americans at “destroy the FBI“, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared to be call for civil war.
The FBI Agents Association, which represents 14,000 current and former special agents, issued an angry statement Thursday saying that “calls for violence against law enforcement are unacceptable and should be condemned by all leaders.” ”.
This is “not a partisan or political issue. This is a matter of public safety and basic decency,” the statement added.
Shooter Ricky Shiffer, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, was killed by police Thursday after he tried to rape an FBI office in Cincinnati amid vicious social media attacks by Republican lawmakers and their supporters.
Shiffer frequently posted violent messages on Trump’s Truth Social, and seemed particularly triggered by attacks, led by the former president, on the FBI.
Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, expressed concern in an interview with The Washington Post about GOP warnings to Americans that federal agents are “coming to get you.”
“Basic officers on the street and agents, they are career employees who … cherish the Constitution like the average American,” he said. “For them to be attacked…is shameful and disgusting.”