The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced plans on Tuesday to initiate a security review at its facilities nationwide in response to threats from Republicans and other right-wing groups. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig informed The Washington Post that the agency will conduct risk assessments for all of its 600 facilities in the coming weeks and months and consider implementing new security measures to ensure the safety of its workers. This will be the first such assessments since the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.
The assessments are a response to threats the agency has faced since Republicans took issue with its inclusion in the Democrats’ new spending bill that President Joe Biden signed earlier this month. The bill provides the IRS with $80 billion in new funding over ten years to help the agency pursue tax avoidance by high-income earners and major corporations.
However, several Republicans have seized on the funding to suggest that Mr. Biden and his party are using the IRS to target working and middle-class Americans, drawing explicit parallels between the expansion of the agency’s size and power and the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Republican officials, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, have noted that the IRS has guns and ammunition, implying that armed agents could enforce tax laws on Americans under the terms of Mr. Biden’s spending law.
The venom directed at the agency and its mission from Republicans — many of whom have close ties to the types of major corporations and high-income earners who may face increased scrutiny in the coming years — has left a number of agents concerned about their safety.