Oct. 3, 2022, 6:22 PM UTC
By Bridget Bowman
Republicans are focusing their recent ads on warnings that more Internal Revenue Service agents will be targeting the middle class, targeting Democratic senators over additional funding for the agency.
On Monday, Republican Blake Masters announced he was launching a new TV ad, warning that additional IRS agents are “coming after you.”
Washington Republican Tiffany Smiley also released a new ad Monday featuring her standing in front of the Seattle Seahawks stadium, saying Democrats are sending a “stadium full” of new IRS agents to harass middle class families.
Arizona and Washington are among the half dozen states where Senate candidates and outside groups have aired ads over the last week focusing on the additional IRS agents, according to data from the ad tracking firm AdImpact. The ads center on the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which Democrats passed in August, that included $80 billion in funding for the IRS over 10 years.
The Treasury Department estimated the agency could hire roughly 87,000 people over that period, with a majority replacing employees who expected to retire or leave the agency. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also wrote in an internal memo that the new funding should be used to “enforce the tax laws against high net-worth individuals, large corporations, and complex partnerships who today pay far less than they owe.”
That hasn’t stopped Republicans from warning of more audits in their campaign messaging. In one recent ad in North Carolina’s Senate race, Senate Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC, launched a TV ad tying Democrat Cheri Beasley to the IRS funding. Beasley has voiced support for the Inflation Reduction Act, saying in an August statement, “Any member of Congress who is serious about lowering costs would support it.”
The ad features images of IRS agents raiding a home and shooting at a gun range, with a narrator warning Beasley “is gonna knock on your door with an army of new IRS agents.”