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Biden accused of targeting whites, Asians with IRS - raising specter of politically motivated audits

By Sarah May
|
February 23, 2023

President Joe Biden recently issued a “racial equity” executive order addressing all federal agencies, and according to one conservative legal advocacy group, its directives will result in the targeting of “white, Asian, or mixed-race taxpayers,” as Fox News reports.

America First Legal Foundation (AFL) has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request as part of a broader investigation into what it believes are the administration's plans for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to begin making audit and enforcement decisions based on racial criteria.

Biden signs order

Earlier this month, Biden signed the aforementioned executive order directing all federal agencies to develop an annual “equity action plan” with the stated intent of eliminating barriers to the use of resources for “undeserved communities,” as Fox News noted separately.

In unveiling the order, the White House stated, “Despite the meaningful progress that the Biden-Harris administration has made, the reality is that underserved communities – many of whom have endured generations of discrimination and disinvestment – still confront unacceptable barriers to equal opportunity and the American Dream.”

“It is imperative that we reject the narrow, cramped view of American opportunity as a zero-sum game,” the administration continued, while calling on government agencies to name “equity teams” and establish senior leadership roles where accountability for implementing the order will be vested.

As AFL noted in a press release announcing its FOIA filing, the order also instructed agencies to “prevent and remedy discrimination, including by protecting the public from algorithmic discrimination,” suggesting to the advocacy group that questionable adjustments of IRS audit criteria may be in the offing.

Voluminous records requested

AFL's FOIA request seeks records of communication among Treasury Department employees and officials and the IRS itself that include references to terms such as “discrimination,” “discriminatory,” “race,” “racial,” “ethnicity,” “color,” “BIPOC,” “Asian,” “Indigenous,” “Black,” “Brown,” and “White.”

Materials referencing terms such as “audit,” “enforcement,” algorithmic,” “selection,” “sampling,” “strata,” “NRP,” and “RAAS” are also being sought by AFL, as Fox News notes.

The request itself also alleges that Biden administration edicts have violated rules promulgated by Congress regarding IRS data collection processes involving race or ethnicity, contending that the White House is driven by “deep-seated racial fixations” that are a “clear and present danger” to taxpayers who are not part of favored minority groups.

The time frame covered by AFL's request is between Jan. 20, 2021 through the date on which the FOIA letter is processed by the government, and the request encompasses communications involving senior administration officials, appointees, deputies, and even Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

AFL explains

In outlining its objections to the administration's executive order, AFL declared, “Congress has prohibited the IRS from collecting race and ethnicity data from American taxpayers. But since President Biden took office, the Treasury Department has been using 'racial equity' as a 'key factor in the design of tax compliance' and illegally 'examining the tax system through a racial equity lens.'”

Gene Hamilton, vice president and general counsel at AFL opined, “The notion that race should play any role whatsoever in the IRS's operations is absurd, offensive to the American ideal, and illegal. But the Biden administration is so blinded by its relentless obsession with race that it is willing to make IRS enforcement decisions based on the race of American citizens.”

AFL president Stephen Miller also weighed in, saying, “As pledged, we will relentlessly oppose Biden's new Marxist edict directing all federal employees to submit and surrender to the racialist and racist equity agenda. We will not allow the machinery of the federal government, with all its considerable and awesome powers, to be used to categorize and punish Americans based on skin color or to replace our entire constitutional order with race-and-gender based Marxism.”

“Today's investigation is just the very beginning of our battle against this tyrannical executive order,” Miller vowed.

Opposition builds

Hamilton and Miller are far from the only ones calling for an end to Biden's equity orders, with the editorial board at National Review recently blasting the scheme as “at the very least, against the spirit of the constitutional order, in effect adding a new goal to the missions of myriad federal agencies without any authorization from Congress.”

The editors went on to assert that “Republicans in Congress should push to defund the equity decree, and Republican presidential candidates should pledge to dismantle it,” banking on the likely unpopularity with which such plans would be met by the broader electorate.

As the outlet's Rich Lowry put it, Biden's equity scheme is “so shockingly far-reaching that, not so long ago, a woke diversity officer wouldn't have attempted it at even the most progressive liberal-arts college.”

Lowry added that given the expansive nature of what the president is attempting to do by “making the federal government a frank instrument of racialized radicalism,” it is incumbent upon every GOP presidential candidate “to begin tearing up this ideological infrastructure root and branch on Day One,” but whether that advice is heeded with the swiftness he suggests, only time will tell.