The older I get, the better I understand former Senator Ron Paul’s attempts to abolish the Federal Reserve and the IRS. Since the IRS’ inception, it has been used to target and destroy institutions, organizations, and people that presidential administrations, both Democrat and Republican, does not like.
This is not how a Constitutional republic is supposed to work; yet, almost every administration has its history of using the IRS to achieve its political ends.
In a blog called Spy Briefing, the writer reminded us of ways the IRS has been used to target religious institutions and average American citizens. In 2004, All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA was demonized under the George W. Bush administration. Like most Episcopal churches, All Saints is a progressive, left-wing bastion, and was “Woke” before Woke was even a thing.
The pastor at that time took to his pulpit to spout off about President Bush, the Iraq War, and the usual leftist tropes like how dangerous the religious right is (uhh… pot/kettle?), and the golden calf of abortion rights. These are issues in which most conservatives and Republicans were on the opposite side of the fence, and that both sides believed (at the time) they had proper platforms where one could oppose and debate.
The IRS felt differently, and came out of the woodwork to inflict damage.
What happened next will surprise you only if you just fell off a turnip truck: The IRS came knocking. It threatened the church’s tax-exempt status, demanded all kinds of paperwork, and carried on an investigation that lasted more than two years — and cost the church $200,000.
Dubya’s successor, Barack Obama brought the weaponizing of the IRS to yet another level. From 2010 to 2016, the IRS used its division of tax-exempt organizations to stonewall and mitigate the power of grassroots organizations who were formed to mobilize voters and illuminate issues ahead of the 2012 general election.
From the Washington Examiner:
President Barack Obama called such conduct “outrageous.” “There’s no place for it,” he added, and assured the public that “[the IRS] have to be held fully accountable.”
And then nothing happened.
Lois Lerner was the head of that division and at the heart of the entire scandal. She was the architect of all the malfeasance that occurred. When Lerner faced a Congressional hearing, she merely invoked her 5th Amendment right rather than testify.
Obama took no action, and his handpicked IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, simply stonewalled congressional investigations. Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS unit at the heart of the scandal, retired with a full pension, and no disciplinary action was taken against any IRS employee.
Finally, last October, the IRS signed a consent decree in federal court in which it admitted to targeting conservative organizations for more than two years, from 2010 through 2013. It confessed that:
its treatment of [conservative organizations] during the tax-exempt determinations process, including screening their applications based on their names or policy positions, subjecting those applications to heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays, and demanding of some Plaintiffs’ information that TIGTA [U.S. Treasury Inspector General, Tax Administration] determined was unnecessary to the agency’s determination of their tax-exempt status, was wrong.
This IRS targeting of conservative organizations in the run-up to the 2012 election should be one of the major scandals of our time. Researchers from Stockholm University, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the American Enterprise Institute concluded that a fully mobilized Tea Party, unhindered by IRS harassment, would have brought the Republican Party between 5 and 8.5 million votes . You may recall Obama won the popular vote by just under 5 million votes.
Of course, we can’t know for certain, and in any event nothing can be done about that now. But the IRS scandal should be a constant reminder of the danger of giving government the power to regulate political advocacy, through the tax code or otherwise.
Now we have the Biden administration taking the gloves completely off and going directly after American citizens’ personal assets with the help of—you guessed it—the IRS.
As my colleague Nick Arama reported:
People didn’t put up enough of a fight when the Democrats tried to grab President Donald Trump’s private tax information. They were trying to do that for a fishing expedition, not based upon any specific action of wrongdoing. When his information was improperly leaked, nobody seemed to care enough to prosecute that, either.
The problem is when you go down that slippery slope, it starts to get more slippery pretty fast.
Now, the Biden team wants not just to look into Trump’s account, but into the accounts of virtually every American, as well.
As part of their budget plan, they want to empower the IRS to be able to look into the account of any American with at least $600 in inflow/or outflow in the year, imposing a requirement on the banks to report such information, which is pretty much any adult.
The great financial duo, The Kwak Brothers, do a terrific breakdown on what Americans can expect if this is allowed to become policy:
The Kwak Brothers are right. This is a violation of the 4th Amendment, but Biden’s sinister proposal is making an end-run around this amendment, because they technically are not “searching”; they are having the bank’s do that heavy lifting through their normal course of business.
It’s evil, and as usual hurts small businesses, and the middle class. The rich already have their tax shelters, loopholes, and the ability to command a phalanx of accountants and attorneys to come to their aid. Joe and Jill Citizen? They are trying to pay their bills and taxes, get along, save for retirement, and if they have children, save up for their education and maybe leave them an inheritance.
This is the last thing any of us needs or wants. But Dementia Joe seems to have no care or concern for what Americans actually want, only what he thinks they should have.
As Arama also reported, trade organizations like the Chambers of Commerce are raising the alarm and for once actually pushing back. The State Treasurer of Nebraska, and 22 of his fellow financiers, are already letting the Biden administration know they will not comply.
Nebraska state Treasurer John Murante said his state is leading the charge in objecting to the proposal that would compel banks to report private customers’ accounts with at least $600 of transactions to the IRS.
“My message is really simple. The people of Nebraska entrusted me to protect the privacy of these accounts and I am not going to comply with this. If the Biden administration sues me, we will take it all the way to the Supreme Court. We are going to fight every step of the way,” Murante told Fox Business during an interview on Thursday.
The administration says it will generate about $460 billion in additional revenue over the next decade, intended to help fund Biden and the Democrats’ pricey planned climate-change policies and social programs expansion.
Murante and 22 other financial officers across the country announced their opposition in a statement issued by his office earlier this month.
They slammed the proposal as a violation of Americans’ constitutional right to privacy and said the costs associated with banks, credit companies and other financial institutions complying with the requirement would be passed on to consumers.
Why should Americans be held on the hook for Democrats wet dreams? This is usury, disguised as beneficence.
Also for a change, lawmakers are actually doing their job, and pushing back in order to protect the American people.
The Epoch Times reported that Sens. John Boozman (R-AK) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) have introduced the Tax Gap Reform and IRS Enforcement Act which would stop this in its tracks. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is mirroring this legislation in the House.
Boozman is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) known as the Tax Gap Reform and IRS Enforcement Act that would establish “guardrails” to prevent abuse by IRS employees of tax records. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has introduced the proposal in the House of Representatives.
“Under the guise of closing the ‘tax gap,’ Democrats are seeking to increase IRS funding by a massive $80 billion over the next 10 years to expand ‘enforcement and compliance activities’ at the IRS, and to create a ‘comprehensive financial account information reporting regime,’ under which gross inflows and outflows of taxpayers’ financial accounts are reported by financial intermediaries to the IRS, effectively acting as IRS agents,” Crapo said in a statement.
“In light of recent proposals to massively expand the IRS, with unprecedented amounts of mandatory funding, and the IRS’s continued abuses of taxpayer rights and privacy, any additional IRS funding and monitoring of Americans’ private finances must come with guardrails to help protect against abuses.
“This legislation places important guardrails around IRS funding to protect taxpayers’ rights and privacy.”
If the Republicans take back both houses of Congress in 2022, it would be wise to revisit the abolishment of the IRS. The American people should insist upon it.