IRS To End Certain Intimidation Tactics

IRS building | Image by Tada Images

An investigation of the IRS by a House subcommittee has reportedly led the agency to make a policy change, agreeing to end its practice of surprise visits to taxpayers’ homes.

The House Judiciary Committee’s select panel on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released a report on October 27 accusing the IRS of abusing the civil liberties of citizens in order to harass and intimidate critics of the Biden administration.

One such critic who was a target of an IRS raid is journalist Matt Taibbi, whose case is featured in the report. Taibbi was visited by IRS agents on March 9 at his New Jersey home, one day before he was scheduled to testify before Congress about the government abuse of power allegedly revealed in the Twitter Files.

After Taibbi told the committee about the IRS visit, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said, “In light of the hostile reaction to Mr. Taibbi’s reporting among left-wing activists, and the IRS’s history as a tool of government abuse, the IRS’s action could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress,” Zero Hedge reported.

“As a result of the Committee’s and Select Subcommittee’s oversight, the IRS terminated its unannounced field visit policy altogether, ending a decades-long practice that had been weaponized by the IRS and undermined American trust in the agency,” the panel’s report claimed.

“On July 24, 2023, the IRS publicly announced that it would no longer conduct most unannounced field visits to taxpayers’ homes, including those like what occurred with Mr. Taibbi and the Ohio taxpayer,” the report stated, referring in the second instance to a visit to a taxpayer’s home by an agent using an alias. The IRS later issued an apology to the Ohio taxpayer.

On Saturday, Taibbi addressed the report and noted the partisan split that emerged, with Republicans alarmed by his treatment by the IRS, while Democrats remained dismissive.

“One of the cases outlined is my own. My home was visited by the IRS while I was testifying before Jordan’s Committee about the Twitter Files on March 9th. Sincere thanks are due to Chairman Jordan, whose staff not only demanded and got answers in my case but achieved a concrete policy change, as IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel announced in July new procedures that would ‘end most’ home visits.”

“Anticipating criticism for expressing public thanks to a Republican congressman, I’d like to ask Democratic Party partisans: to which elected Democrat should I have appealed for help in this matter? The one who called me a ‘so-called journalist’ on the House floor?” Taibbi wrote, referring to ranking member Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), who questioned Taibbi’s journalistic credentials during his testimony.

Responding to Rep. Colin Allred’s (D-TX) allusion that claims by Taibbi amounted to conspiracy-mongering, Taibbi wrote, “The one who told me to take off my ‘tinfoil hat’ and put greater trust in intelligence services? The ones in leadership who threatened me with jail time? I gave votes to the party for thirty years. Which elected Democrat would have performed basic constituent services in my case? Feel free to raise a hand.”

“If silence is the answer, why should I ever vote for a Democrat again?” Taibbi asked.

Following Taibbi’s testimony in March, Jordan posted on Twitter, now X, “Does anyone in Real America think we need 87,000 new IRS agents?” Among the replies, Graham Chowder, a self-identified Democrat, remarked, “Yes. To replace the outgoing IRS agents over the next 10 years and decrease the backlog of returns created by right-wing incompetence.”

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