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September 13, 2022 09:45 AM UTC

O'Dea Backs Away From "87,000 IRS Agents" Fiction...Sort Of

  • by: Colorado Pols

Seeking to explain why he opposes the overwhelmingly popular Inflation Reduction Act, a.k.a. The BFD Act, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has leaned heavily on the claim that the legislation will result in the hiring of “87,000 IRS agents,” who will immediately commence with the mass financial persecution of millions of ordinary Americans in order to further squeeze them of tax revenue like the Sheriff of Nottingham.

If you haven’t already looked it up, this argument is completely false.

But that didn’t stop O’Dea from invoking it as recently as a few days ago in his ill-fated encounter with 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark, in which O’Dea claimed among other eye-poppingly disastrous statements that his mission in the U.S. Senate would be to bring “balance to women’s rights.”

Although campaigns reuse headlines published by news outlets regularly in campaign ads, what we have here is a completely fake headline using 9NEWS’ logo and typeface to suggests 9NEWS accepts its premise. Which, to be clear, they don’t:

JOE O’DEA: …What it does is add 87,000, 40,000 IRS agents, depending on who’s counting them, and they’re gonna shake down Americans for more taxes. Let’s take that money. And let’s put that on border security. And let’s put money into our state and our local cops so we can hire more cops. That’s where I think our priorities are. And those are the priorities. I’ll chase.

KYLE CLARK: Let’s talk about that. You and I both know that the IRS wants to staff back up to current levels. So they can make sure that wealthy Americans are paying the taxes that they owe, there’s this $600 billion tax gap between what’s legally owed and what’s paid. So you want to defund the guys that police our tax laws, because you know, the people they’re looking at are the wealthiest Americans like you and like, Senator Bennet, they’re not looking at ordinary Americans…

Again, this is not a slightly false claim. It’s been comprehensively debunked by every unbiased fact checker in American media. O’Dea, whose feints toward the center are hamstrung at every step by his fealty to Mitch McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has no real justification for opposing this popular legislation other than partisanship. He is therefore obliged to make stuff up–and once you’ve done that in a political campaign, walking it back is never easy.

Here’s how O’Dea is trying:

For the last few days, O’Dea has substituted the word “bureaucrats” instead of “agents” when referring to the IRS’s alleged expansion plans. “Bureaucrat” has a negative but much less threatening implication than “agents,” and won’t help Lauren Boebert keep the idea that these new staff will all be armed stormtroopers alive in her angry House floor rants. It’s also not any more accurate, since the majority of these staff hires are to replace existing IRS employees expected to retire in the next 10 years. But what we see here is an attempt to make O’Dea proven-false rhetoric ever so slightly more defensible.

In short, Joe O’Dea is still lying, and he admits however subtly that he has been lying the whole time.

There are no points awarded, but it’s as close to admitting error as you’re going to get.


6 thoughts on “O’Dea Backs Away From “87,000 IRS Agents” Fiction…Sort Of

  1. It seems that Both Ways Joe O'Dea may not be smart enough to figure out that maybe 20,000 to 25,000 of those new IRS hires will be there simply to answer phones and taxpayer questions.

    1. Yeah, but that doesn't have the appeal of thousands of IRS shock troops invading American homes. The fountain of bullshit continues. One day they sell outrage, the next day they sell fear.

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