Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the CEO and founder of openthebooks.com, Adam Andrzejewski to the newsmaker line to discuss the growing weaponry in IRS and other federal agencies.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line Adam Andrzejewski, who is the head of Open the Books. Adam, welcome back. Looks like the IRS is looking for special agents who will use deadly force and they’re piling up those guns. Just makes you feel comfortable, doesn’t it?
Andrzejewski: (Chuckles) It certainly does. So after grabbing legal power, the IRS has amassed firepower. And Michael, it’s time to scale back the federal arsenal.
Leahy: Yes. Why do they need guns? Why do IRS agents need guns?
Andrzejewski: That’s the operating question. And furthermore, why do they need such heavy weaponry, right? It begs the question, who are they preparing to battle? And just how big is the next Biden tax hike?
Leahy: Let’s see. The IRS, even before 2020, owned 4,500 guns. They had 505 million rounds of ammunition for its 2,000 or so special agents. They’ve asked for more. They’ve got what? They spent two and $2.5 million on ballistic shields. $1.3 million on duty tactical lighting, a million bucks on Smith and Wesson rifles, and Beretta tactical shotguns. Why does the IRS have all this stuff?
Andrzejewski: And don’t forget the 15 submachine guns that they have in their basement, Michael. We took the IRS Special Agent Force. Right now, it’s 2,100. It’s expanding. By the end of the year, they’re adding 600. That’s 2,700 special agents. Michael, you know that the headcount of a US Army brigade is 3,000 men. It goes up to 5,000. The IRS is not done. There are news reports that are saying that out of the 87,000 employees that they’re hiring, the special agent ratio to those employees is 3 percent.
That means that they would hire an additional, three percent off of 87,000. You’re over 2,400 new hires. This headcount could go up to 5,000. Where was the public debate that the IRS special agent headcount rivals a U.S. Army battalion? This needs to be held in Congress. Congress needs to hold hearings.
Leahy: What legal authority does a brigade of IRS agents have with these high levels of guns and arms? What do they need them for?
Andrzejewski: We went out to request comments from the IRS. We do this virtually every single year since we broke this story in The Wall Street Journal back in 2016. Many people still remember the editorial in The Wall Street Journal that I co-authored with then with the legendary U.S. senator from Oklahoma, Dr. Tom Coburn.
It was entitled, why does the IRS need guns? Exactly the question that we’re trying to answer here. We go out for comment to the IRS virtually every year since. And in the latest comment we have from them in 2021, here’s what they said in part.
CI means criminal investigations special agents have been using weapons throughout their history and essentially they have consistently found themselves investigating the most dangerous criminals involved with organized crime, drugs, and gangs. Look, Michael, they run against some bad hombres.
And our point is for generations, we’ve not blurred the line between traditional criminal enforcement agencies and general administrative paper-pushing agencies. Over at the IRS, they are pushing the envelope. They’re blurring those lines.
And it’s not only the IRS, it’s the other paper-pushing alphabet soup of agencies at the federal level like the EPA, Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Transportation, the USDA, and the AG Department.
There are 76 rank and final federal agencies that are arming up. They’re arming up. They’re gunning up, and it begs the question, who are they preparing to battle? They’re not going to war.
Leahy: Has anyone considered litigation to remove their arms?
Andrzejewski: Let’s just take the Social Security Administration which goes back to 1978. At the IRS, it goes back probably 100 years. Treasury agents, they were the guys that got Al Capone. I don’t like it in today’s world where the IRS, as we’re showing, is armed to the teeth, right?
Shotguns, slugs, buckshot, machine guns, and all this heavy armory. In the rank-and-file federal agencies, it goes back to 1978 when they got their police powers, and it’s time to reconsider it. It’s time to put it on the table.
Leahy: When you go and talk to the Republican leadership in the House about this issue, what do they say?
Andrzejewski: They are open hearings. So the first time that we exposed this, like I said, was during the Obama administration in 2016, and it immediately led to a House hearing house over setting government reform. I flew to Washington, D.C. to brief the Republican majority. It was headed by Jason Shcavetz.
And it was a very illuminating hearing in July of 2016. He had in the hot seat, for example, the director of Homeland Security. They admitted that their gun locker was a mess and that they lost 228 weapons, including an Uzi.
It was pointed out in the hearing that in 2018, the beautiful Kate Steinle was shot and murdered on the San Francisco Pier. That weapon was a stolen weapon from the Bureau of Land Management. That agency had a weapon when he had traveled to San Francisco, stolen out of his vehicle. That was the weapon used in her murder.
Leahy: Wow. But let’s talk about something beyond oversight. Has anybody introduced legislation to remove this capability? I don’t even know what law authorized it, from not only the IRS but as you say, 76 federal agencies to remove their guns in the conduct of their job.
As private citizens, they can do whatever they want to, right? But to have an armed force of IRS agents and an armed force of the Department of Agriculture, all these guys, it’s a little bit Orwellian, I’d say.
Andrzejewski: It really is. Two legislative pushes. Number one, last summer, out of Florida, Congressman Matt Gaetz introduced to disarm the IRS legislation. This got a lot of press. Fox News, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson. It got a lot of press built on our data through 2019.
Up until now, breaking on your show, the latest data we had was through 2019 we’ve now updated it through the first quarter of 2023. So through 2019, the IRS gun locker of the AR-15s, the IRS owns over 500 long barrel rifles, 15 submachine guns, 600 pump action, and semi-automatic shotguns.
They’ve added to that, as you mentioned. During the pandemic, they bought $10 million. Worth of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment. So this is breaking news—a half million more of AR-15 Smith and Wesson rifles.
A half million dollars more of tactical duty lighting, a half million dollars, more of tactical shotguns, adding to their gun locker of over 639 shotguns that they already had. This second push was from President Trump; although he did not stop the purchases, these agencies continued arming up during the Trump years.
He did introduce a reorganization of federal arrest and firearm authority within the agencies, stripping those agencies and bringing them back those 76 paper-pushing agencies, and bringing that authority back within the 27 traditional law enforcement agencies. A revamped, reinvigorated, reformed FBI, US Special Marshals, and 27 agencies underneath the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Adam Andrzejewski” by Adam Andrzejewski. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Grant Page.