Jimmy Patronis proposal holds IRS employees, contractors liable for political targeting
Jimmy Patronis gives input on the new . Image via CFO's Office.

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‘You don’t get to ruin someone’s life without having your own skin in the game.’

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is proposing legislation to defend small business owners from political targeting by IRS personnel.

With his latest draft measure, Patronis — a Republican statewide official vying for re-election — wants to establish civil penalties against IRS agents who retaliate against Floridians for their politics. The legislation, announced Tuesday, marks his second proposal in six days in response to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ plan to hire 87,000 IRS employees over the next decade.

“We know for a fact that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups, we know that tens-of-billions of dollars are moving from states like California and New York to Florida, and we know from that appalling Biden speech that he’s green-lit federal bureaucrats to go after Conservatives,” Patronis said in a statement.

“With 87,000 new IRS personnel, there is absolutely no doubt that some of those new agents are going to target Floridians based on their political beliefs, and in my view, you don’t get to ruin someone’s life without having your own skin in the game.”

Biden’s critics have likened the planned expansion within the Inflation Reduction Act, signed last month, to a private army that will hunt down political adversaries. Republicans’ distrust in the IRS has only been strengthened in recent years after the agency scrutinized conservative groups, for which the IRS has apologized.

The draft is the second proposal from the Panama City Republican’s four-part “IRS Protection Plan to Fight Back Against a Shakedown Targeting Florida.” Under the measure, which Patronis calls the plan’s fourth pillar, Floridians could sue individual IRS employees and contractors for violating Titles VI or VII of the Civil Rights Act or the First, Fourth or Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. If successful, plaintiffs could win back their losses, punitive damages and attorney fees.

“This legislation will create financial penalties against IRS agents who target Floridians,” Patronis said. “If you’re trying to shakedown Florida businesses, non-profits, or families, then the State of Florida will also have tools to go after you too.”

On Thursday, Patronis released the text for his first proposal, legislation that would require banks and financial institutions to report all IRS inquiries each year. One of the two remaining proposals will be designed to incentivize Floridians to fight the IRS to the end instead of settling by making them whole again if they prove the IRS discriminated against them. The final “pillar” would allow the state to pull debt collectors licenses from IRS vendors that are proven to discriminate against Floridians.

The proposals come in the early leadup to the 2023 Session but also as Florida politicos hunker down for the 2022 Midterms, in which five of six statewide offices are on the ballot. Patronis faces former Democratic Rep. Adam Hattersley in his bid for four more years on the Cabinet.

The CFO oversees the state’s payments and receivables, and has direct oversight of the Department of Financial Services, which includes the Office of Insurance Regulation and the Office of Financial Regulation. The position also acts as the state Fire Marshal, overseeing the Bureau of Fire Prevention and the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training.

Although Hattersley flipped a GOP-leaning seat in 2018, a strong year for Democrats nationally, the Hillsborough County politician faces a tougher challenge in Patronis. Patronis holds millions more in fundraising and is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Elliott Offen

    September 6, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    They should start with higher taxes for the rich…THEN hire a million agents. Otherwise, what is the point? Nobody paying taxes anyway 😆

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  • Mr. Haney

    September 6, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    This guy is an idiot who is obviously cheating on his taxes. Must be another law and order Republicon.

    • Charlie Crist

      September 6, 2022 at 3:49 pm

      Yeah rule of law and law and order for themselves and their pocket books only. Also Back the Blue until it’s time to overthrow an election so that a billionaire can stay in power…at which time I suppose a few police might have to die if they dare interfere.😆

  • Marvin

    September 7, 2022 at 7:40 am

    It is about time that someone suggests gov employee’s be held liable for any misdeeds. Also hold judges and prosecutors accountable for their bad decisions.
    If you ruin someone’s life for your bad decision, then you too should suffer a consequence.

  • Chris

    September 8, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    The new republicans working SO hard to protect their own asses and introducing lame ass stupid bills that limit rights more than protect them.
    Just on ‘trans’ rights- and I’m not necessary pro about every little thing dealing with their protection but if up everybody’s ass is where the pubs wanna be, then intelligent voters should take note on how some of these enhance our lives.
    Their proposals should be placed in their burgeoning “No You Can’t” file, under a new Constitution Amendment.

    I’m sick of Gops association with homeland terrorists groups, their bold faced lies and complete disrespect for anyone who disagrees. My Moderate thinking shifts slowly to left because of the self righteous indignation of Gops . You wanna debate who reflects the most hypocrisy and the Right Wing elitism? It’s there in full force but disguised as concern for the ‘ Good Guys’:God fearing, bible clutching, lunatic fringe.

Comments are closed.


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