Watchdog Catches IRS

Watchdog Catches IRS

( – A nonpartisan watchdog group called Open the Books has been consolidating and posting reports detailing the spending levels of federal, state, and local government entities since its founding in 2011. A newly updated report caught the IRS continuing its longstanding practice of spending massive amounts of taxpayer dollars for firearms, ammunition, and other military gear.

Open the Books founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski first revealed the dreaded tax agency’s spending practices on weapons and ammo in an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal in June 2016. The editorial discussed the group’s findings that 67 federal agencies not affiliated with the Defense Department spent roughly $1.48 billion on firearms and ammunition over nine years ending in 2014.

According to Open the Books researchers, the IRS spent almost $11 million during that time frame arming 2,316 agents with the IRS’ Criminal Investigation branch (IRS-CI) with guns, ammo, and other military-style equipment.

On April 27, 2023, Open the Book published its latest annual report on the “militarization” of the federal government, showing financial statistics through the end of March 2023. The document showed that the IRS spent $35.2 million, adjusted to the consumer price index, on the purchase of weapons and gear since 2006. The report revealed that spending peaked in 2020 and 2021, with the IRS spending nearly $10 million combined. On a brighter note, spending dropped in 2022, and the number of IRS-CI agents dropped from 4,017 in 2010 to its current level of 3,015.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, the IRS-CI is the nation’s sixth-largest federal law enforcement agency. The organization’s 2022 annual report noted that investigators identified more than $31 billion in tax fraud and other financial crimes.

The group targets massive criminal enterprises involving human trafficking, drug smuggling, money laundering, cybercrimes, and other financial offenses. The IRS-CI launched Task Force KleptoCapture in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine to target Russian businesses and oligarchs attempting to evade US sanctions.

The IRS established its criminal investigation branch in 1919 and has enjoyed high success rates over the years. For example, the IRS-CI was responsible for Al Capone’s arrest and prosecution. The branch’s conviction rate topped 90% in 2022.

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