U.S. Senator Wants To Stop IRS From “Swat Team Dress Up”

Republican Senator Joani Ernst has introduced legislation to disarm the IRS. The Iowa Congresswoman said, “Any further weaponization of this federal agency against hardworking Americans and small businesses is a grave concern.” 

The “Why Does the IRS Have Guns Act” would strip the federal tax agency of the right to buy guns or ammunition and would furthermore require the IRS to sell off any weapons it currently holds, which she said should be used to pay off the nation’s debts. According to watchdog Open the Books, the IRS has spent more than $35 million on weapons since 2006. 

The Internal Revenue Service first established a criminal investigation wing back in 1919. The initial goal was to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks, and its agents were instrumental in bringing down notorious gang boss Al Capone in 1931. It also assisted in the investigation that led to the jailing of financier Bernie Madoff in 2019 for swindling investors out of billions of dollars. 

Democrats approved a funding boost of $80 billion for the IRS in 2022, leading Republicans to claim the money would be used to hire 87,000 agents with the specific task of auditing the finances of millions of working Americans. Georgian Republican Rep. Earl Carter said the funding injection would also further weaponize federal agents against small businesses. 

Republicans and Democrats have a very different view of the IRS. Some in the GOP want to see the organization dissolved, while Democrats want it expanded. When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January, one of their first policies was to reverse the $80 billion cash injection into the agency. 

Democrats responded saying the intention of the extra funds was to reduce the tax gap – the amount of tax owed vs. the amount received. This is estimated to add up to hundreds of billions of dollars per year. A statement from the IRS at the time said no newly hired agents would be armed.