Rep. Jeff Duncan must not be very good at Googling. His “revelation” that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is tooled-up is about as new as the “discovery” that Israel is the birthplace of some particularly attractive women. Back in August 2010, TTAG reported on an IRS raid on Tennessee rapper David Darnell Brown (a.k.a. “Young Buck”) where agents were equipped with plenty ‘o shotguns. Here’s a fedbizopps.gov bid solicitation for 60 Remington shotguns for the Tea Party tormentors. All that said, usnews.com reports that Rep Duncan’s got his knickers in a twist because the IRS has joined law enforcement officers nationwide in switching from scatterguns to rifles . . .
As chairman of the House Homeland Security oversight subcommittee, Duncan (R-S.C.) toured a federal law enforcement facility in late May and noticed agents training with the semi-automatic weapons at a firing range. They identified themselves as IRS, he said.
“When I left there, it’s been bugging me for weeks now, why IRS agents are training with a semi-automatic rifle AR-15, which has stand-off capability,” Duncan told POLITICO. “Are Americans that much of a target that you need that kind of capability?”
You gotta give Duncan credit for seeing an inadvertent fact-finding trip to the range as an opportunity to exploit the [entirely justifiable and historical] anti-IRS sentiment growing throughout the US of A. And using the phrase “stand-off capability.” And anticipating the IRS claim that they need the guns to go after bad guys.
While Duncan acknowledges that the IRS has an enforcement division, he questions if that level of firepower is appropriate when they could coordinate operations with other agencies, like the FBI, especially in a time of austerity. [ED: Joint op with the DEA and U.S. Marshalls above.]
“I think Americans raise eyebrows when you tell them that IRS agents are training with a type of weapon that has stand-off capability. It’s not like they’re carrying a sidearm and they knock on someone’s door and say, ‘You’re evading your taxes,’” Duncan said.
Given the increased scrutiny amid the agency’s targeting of political groups and excessive spending, Duncan said, he intends to seek answers from the IRS.
“We’ll ask the questions and hopefully they can justify it. And if not, we’ll bring them in front of the committee for a hearing and ask the questions on the record,” he said.
Painting the IRS as armed highwaymen? Now that would be fun.