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Republicans ready to hold IRS accountable

The Internal Revenue Service building May 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Total Democrat control of Washington has been a disaster for the country. Each crisis we are now facing has come about by a deliberate policy decision by those who today control the administration and Congress.

If you are a part of the 74 percent of Americans who believe this country is now on the wrong track thanks to the decisions made by Democrats over the past two years: please hold on. Relief is on the way. Republicans are united behind a strong agenda that will make Washington accountable to taxpayers again. It includes top ticket items like crime control, inflation relief, abundant energy, securing the border, and reining in government abuse of power and corruption.

The media is trying to spin that top Democrat “accomplishments” over the past two years — like student loan bailouts, gun control, and Green New Deal regulations — as positive. The fact is that these policies have degraded Americans’ liberties, crushed the economy and contributed to the bloated federal government. They also remain highly unpopular to pretty much everyone not living on America’s two left coasts.

Also take for example Democrats’ recent legislation which will — on top of spending billions more when inflation is out-of-control — supersize the IRS by adding around 87,000 agents. That’s enough agents to fill two acres of Kansas cropland. We don’t need acres of agents. 

If you think all those new friendly IRS agents will be waiting by the phone this tax season to help you — think again. According to the Biden administration, only 4 percent of the funding from this massive expansion will go to taxpayer customer service. So $80 billion more in funding won’t even fix the problem of being unable to get through to the IRS on the phone when you can’t understand their complex forms (the IRS only answered 18% of the phone calls it received in 2022).

It also won’t help solve the standard IRS incompetence, like the recent announcement that the IRS accidentally posted about 120,000 individuals’ confidential information. What a complete disaster. And just this week the Department of Justice announced charges for five current and former IRS employees who defrauded the government through erroneous Paycheck Protection Program loan applications.

Despite rhetoric from the White House and smoke-and-mirror fact-checks from the mainstream media, it’s been shown that middle-class Americans will also see an uptick in audits. That’s because even a 3,000% increase in audit rates for taxpayers making more than $400,000 would fall well short of raising the new revenues being claimed in 2031.

Democrats have forced this through using budget gimmicks to claim they pay for their pet projects, not because it’s wildly popular. They have stopped caring what the American people want. Unless Republicans take back the House and Senate and repeal this nonsense, you had better get ready for IRS auditors to hit you over the head with 7,000 pages of tax code and 14,000 pages of IRS regulations.

Almost half of Americans think the IRS will target middle-class Americans and political opponents. They’re right to be concerned. It’s something that should very much concern all Americans. If the IRS can abuse its tax authority to target organizations and individuals based on their political or religious beliefs, it will mean the severe chilling in political freedom in our nation. Recent scandals within the IRS show that this is exactly what they’ve been up to.

And with these new agents, they are doubling down on weaponizing the agency. Look no further than the new head of a centralized division within the IRS, Nikole Flax. While her name may not be immediately familiar, her connection with former IRS director Lois Lerner should raise concerns. Her computer conveniently crashed during a congressional investigation of IRS targeting of conservative groups. Yet she’ll be tasked with implementing billions of dollars allocated for the IRS from Biden’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act. In an email to IRS employees, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said, “… the IRA 2022 Transformation & Implementation Office will work across the IRS and oversee our implementation efforts.” An IRS weaponizer is about to have unfettered control over billions of taxpayer dollars with the goal of … collecting more taxpayer dollars.

I serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over the IRS. The first thing Republicans must do with the majority is to investigate the IRS for partisan corruption and abuse of its taxing authority. It’s time we get to the bottom of why a massive leak of taxpayer data was used for political purposes last year.

Democrats within the House have refused to hold the IRS accountable. We have yet to get a straight answer from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on this critical matter. The IRS and the Treasury Department should never be used to attack political opponents as has happened under Democrat administrations.

America was founded upon the principle of equal justice under the law; that includes not being targeted by the IRS for holding beliefs that are not shared by the current administration and those who work within the federal bureaucracy.

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson could have been describing Joe Biden when he wrote: “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

But Jefferson was of course referring to King George in the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, the Biden administration sounds a lot like the government the Founding Fathers fought to abandon.

Ron Estes, one of only a handful of engineers in Congress, worked in the aerospace, energy and manufacturing sectors before representing Kansas’ 4th District since 2017. He is a fifth-generation Kansan, former state treasurer, and serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Joint Economic Committee.

Tags government oversight IRS accountability IRS budget

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