Rick Scott flounders in face of tough questioning about IRS attacks

Rick Scott
Scott's '87,000 new agents' talking point hit a roadblock in follow-up questions.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s frequent denunciations of the Internal Revenue Service’s addition of 87,000 new agents via the Inflation Reduction Act hit a roadblock Friday.

During an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Scott was short on real details when asked follow-up questions, doubling down on broad assertions about what the new employees would do, and seemingly casting aspersions on tax enforcement writ large.

After he said it was pointless to go after “rich people” because “they’ve hired all their lawyers and are trying to follow the rules already,” Scott was pressed on the incongruity of taking “law-and-order” positions on other issues, but not on tax enforcement.

He dodged the question.

“The IRS right now doesn’t answer the phone hardly at all. They haven’t used technology the way they should’ve. Why don’t they start fixing some of their problems?”

Reminded that the $80 billion is intended to help the agency modernize and staff up, Scott nonetheless stood his ground, suggesting intense audits over quotidian matters.

“You’ll have some issue over moving expenses or something like this, and they’ll have 10 or 15 people in there harassing the daylights out of you,” Scott predicted.

Scott, the wealthiest man in the Senate, suggested a “simple” tax code in lieu of enhancing enforcement.

“It’s just like the student loan bailout,” Scott said. “The problem is tuition is too high.”

From there, the interview deteriorated into cross talk, with Scott saying the IRS targeted “conservative groups and Tea Party groups,” while saying that if only the IRS demonstrated a need for more resources in a “report he would back their request.”

“The American public doesn’t trust these agencies,” Scott said.

Scott has messaged heavily against the workforce additions at the IRS, including a letter telling people there is no point in applying to join the “IRS super police force”  because Republicans would defund them.

“We aren’t talking about joining your local police force, or even the U.S. military — this is the federal agency charged with collecting taxes. The IRS is making it very clear that you not only need to be ready to audit and investigate your fellow hardworking Americans, your neighbors and friends, you need to be ready and, to use the IRS’s words, willing, to kill them,” Scott alleged, in a letter from his Senate Office.

Politifact has evaluated this and related claims from Scott as “mostly false.”

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig paints a picture of incremental change, meanwhile, rather than an emergent lethal super police force.

“The IRS has struggled for many years with insufficient resources to fulfill our important mission. During the next 10 years, these funds will help us in many areas, including adding critical resources to not just close the tax gap but meaningfully improve taxpayer service and technology. This will allow the IRS to provide services to taxpayers in the manner they expect and deserve,” Rettig wrote in August.

“Given the scope of the bill, keep in mind these changes will not be immediate. It’s a 10-year plan, and it will take time to put these provisions into place,” he added.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


3 comments

  • Charlie Crist

    September 9, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Fraud Scott hates the IRS because big grifter, big fraud, mega millionaire. Don’t wanna pay taxes? Become a congressman and vote yourself more money!!!

  • Ocean Joe

    September 9, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Rick Scott, a living reminder that crime actually does pay.

  • Tjb

    September 12, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    The 75,000 new employees will be replacing approximately 60,000 current IRS employees who will be leaving or retiring from the IRS over the next 10 years.
    People such as Rick Scott and the 1%’er are scared because they won’t be able to fraudulently cheat the American people by not paying their fair shares of taxes.

Comments are closed.


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