The Internal Revenue Service has long been used as a tool by tyrants to threaten and/or intimidate those perceived by the powers that be to be a threat to their agenda. Two recent letters from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary and its Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, show that that tool continues to be used for those same purposes.
In a June 16 letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, Jordan demanded an explanation about an especially outrageous example of threats and intimidation: an IRS agent, using a false name, gained access to a taxpayer’s home and threatened her.
From his letter:
We have recently received allegations that an Internal Revenue Service agent provided a false name to an Ohio taxpayer as part of a deception to gain entry into the taxpayer’s home to confront her about delinquent tax filings.
When the taxpayer rightfully objected to the agent’s tactics, the IRS agent insisted that he “can … go into anyone’s house at any time” as an IRS agent.
Jordan further detailed the outrage:
On April 25, 2023, an IRS agent—who identified himself as “Bill Haus” with the IRS’s Criminal Division—visited the home of a taxpayer in Marion, Ohio. Agent “Haus” informed the taxpayer he was at her home to discuss issues concerning an estate for which the taxpayer was the fiduciary.
After Agent “Haus” shared details about the estate only the IRS would know, the taxpayer let him in. Agent “Haus” told the taxpayer that she did not properly complete the filings for the estate and that she owed the IRS “a substantial amount.” Prior to the visit, however, the taxpayer had not received any notice from the IRS of an outstanding balance on the estate.
During the visit, the taxpayer told Agent “Haus” that the estate was resolved in January 2023, and provided him with proof that she had paid all taxes for the decedent’s estate.
At this point, Agent “Haus” revealed that the true purpose of his visit was not due to any issue with the decedent’s estate, but rather because the decedent allegedly had several delinquent tax return filings.
Agent “Haus” provided several documents to the taxpayer for her to fill out, which included sensitive information about the decedent.
The taxpayer called her attorney who immediately and repeatedly asked Agent “Haus” to leave the taxpayer’s home. Agent “Haus” responded aggressively, insisting: “I am an IRS agent, I can be at and go into anyone’s house at any time I want to be.”
Before finally leaving the taxpayer’s property, Agent “Haus” said he would mail paperwork to the taxpayer, and threatened that she had one week to satisfy the remaining balance or he would freeze all her assets and put a lien on her house.
Adding further insult, Jordan noted, when the taxpayer called the police, who arrived to investigate, Agent “Haus” filed a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General over the police department’s interference.
Jordan failed to confirm any sanctions applied to the agent using a false name to gain illegal access to a private residence. But he did make reference to a previous incident in which the IRS attempted to intimidate another American citizen: investigative journalist Matt Taibbi.
In a letter dated March 27, addressed to Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Jordan demanded documents explaining how IRS agents showed up unannounced at Taibbi’s personal residence on the same day he was testifying against the agency in front of Jordan’s committee.
From that letter:
The Committee recently learned that during this hearing, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent visited, unannounced and unprompted, the home of one of the hearing witnesses, Matthew Taibbi, an independent journalist who has reported extensively on government abuse.
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.…
The circumstances surrounding the IRS’s unannounced and unprompted visit to Mr. Taibbi’s home, at the exact time that he was testifying to Congress about “the most serious” government abuse he has witnessed in his career as a journalist, are incredible.
The IRS’s visit is all the more concerning in light of Mr. Taibbi’s assertions that the IRS informed him the problems were not “monetary” and he had never received any prior indication of any issues with his 2018 return.
The IRS has until June 30 to produce the documentation demanded in the Ohio taxpayer case. There is no record that the IRS ever provided Jordan’s committee with the requested information demanded in the Taibbi intimidation case.
These present incidents are a replay of tactics used during the Obama administration, involving Lois Lerner. Readers will remember that Lerner was head of the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Unit, which during the period from April 2010 to April 2012 placed on hold the processing of applications for tax-exempt status from hundreds of groups affiliated with, or that had names that suggested such affiliation with, the Tea Party. During that period, her department granted only four such exemptions, while at the same time granting dozens of exemptions to left-wing groups seeking tax exemption.
In February 2014 it was learned that, of investigations into already-existing tax-exempt groups, 83 percent were conservative, and of those that were selected for audit, 100 percent were conservative.
In January the Republicans’ first policy bill went after the IRS. On a straight party-line vote, 221 to 210, the bill would have reversed much of the $80 billion in extra funding for the agency provided in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
It never went anywhere.
In May, Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a “deal” to cut funding for the IRS — by $1.8 billion. That leaves in place plans the agency has to hire 87,000 more agents, perhaps trained to threaten and intimidate taxpayers who might wind up in the crosshairs of the Deep State controllers. Just like Matt Taibbi.