The Internal Revenue Service is recruiting college students by giving them a taste of what it feels like to take down a tax evader.
But Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky has doubts that the recruitment initiative is going to benefit the American people. He shared a clip of an April report on what the IRS has dubbed the “Adrian Project.”
“In case you thought the IRS needed 87,000 more agents to help you with your tax returns and audit billionaires, watch this: Highlights from the IRS Adrian recruiting project,” he tweeted on Aug. 17.
In case you thought the IRS needed 87,000 more agents to help you with your tax returns and audit billionaires, watch this: Highlights from the IRS Adrian recruiting project.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) August 17, 2022
“Notice the scenario in this IRS recruiting program is ‘taking down a landscape business owner who failed to properly report how he paid for his vehicles,’ not ‘taking down a billionaire who uses the corporate jet for private trips,'” Massie added.
The recruitment event highlighted in the video took place at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. It was reported by the university’s Community Education Channel.
In one exercise, students played armed IRS agents arresting a landscaper wanted for purchasing vehicles with unreported income.
“You’re going to jail, buddy,” one of the students said playfully.
Special agent Elizabeth Lam told the Community Education Channel that IRS criminal investigators “have regular trainings in firearms, building entry” and that their work includes “doing search warrants or making arrests.”
The IRS website describes the Adrian Project as a recruiting tool designed to make working for the IRS seem interesting.
“For years, IRS Criminal Investigation field offices have brought the Adrian Project to college and university campuses nationwide,” the site states.
“Classes participate in a day-long simulation of a mock criminal investigation. … Students are ‘sworn in’ as special agents in the morning and wear IRS protective vests, use handcuffs, toy guns and radios to communicate with their counterpart agents on the case.
“The students sharpen their forensic accounting skills and are introduced to interviewing suspects, conducting surveillance and document analysis. The day ends when the students solve the crime and arrest the mock offender.”
Joe Hinchman, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, said that means small business owners being arrested is likely to become the norm, according to a New York Post report from Aug. 15.
“The IRS will have to target small and medium businesses because they won’t fight back,” he said.
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