The IRS was targeted with renewed fury after the massive new Manchin-Schumer law gave it $80 billion in funding over 10 years, which is expected to result in the hiring of 87,000 new agents. Outrage on the internet from the Right has turned extreme in a few cases, leading to threats that some believe could be acted on. Commissioner Charles Rettig announced to employees that the agency would be conducting a security review of all 600 of its facilities.
“We see what’s out there in terms of social media. Our workforce is concerned about their safety,” Rettig told the Washington Post . “The comments being made are extremely disrespectful to the agency, to the employees and to the country.”
In a letter written to employees announcing the review, Rettig also complained about what he thought was an unfair treatment of the IRS in the media.
“This is a shot at the reputation of the IRS employees and the IRS and our country,” Rettig said. “That speech [about armed IRS agents] needs to be put into context about what might be accurate and what is absolutely false, and that seems to be missing in the dialogue that’s out there. This country would not function without a functioning Internal Revenue Service.”
The thorough security review will examine every facet of every IRS facility, down to such aspects as exterior lighting and restriction designations for certain areas. The agency will then decide whether to increase security patrols in exterior areas and to boost security around entrances.
A particular source of online outrage was a job posting for an IRS criminal investigator that specified that the hiree must “Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.” That description, though, only applies to about 3,000 of the IRS’s current 78,000 employees, according to the Washington Post.
Supporters of the recent boost in IRS funding argue that it will better equip agents to pursue big corporations and wealthy people, rather than lower- and middle-class people. This claim has drawn heavy skepticism from critics, including some with firsthand experience with the IRS. One Texas cattle rancher appeared on Fox News to tell of his unpleasant experience with an “invasive” IRS, an experience he warned is very common for lower-class people when audited.
“They’re gonna nitpick your life apart,” his wife said.