Always on the lookout for ways to leverage COVID hysteria to expand and protect the interests of the state, Joe Biden has announced a plan that will weaponize the Department of Justice against Americans who received financial aid from the government during the so-called pandemic by expanding the state’s ability to spy on their finances.
Biden made the announcement in his State of the Union address (via Washington Examiner):
President Joe Biden outlined heightened efforts to crack down on pandemic aid fraudsters in his first State of the Union address Tuesday.
The Department of Justice’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force will expand to appoint a chief prosecutor who will be able to lead teams of specialized prosecutors to target large-scale identity thieves.
“These strike force teams will also use state-of-the-art data analytics tools to connect the dots on identity theft and other complex fraud schemes committed across state lines or transnationally, as well as investigate major cases of criminal fraud in programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Unemployment Insurance (UI),” a readout from the White House said.
Under the chief prosecutor, the task force will continue to combat fraud and identity theft in pandemic relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, which granted forgivable loans to small businesses in order for them to keep employees during the height of the pandemic. (emphasis mine)
NOTE: Let me say right up front that I believe criminals should pay for their crimes — unlike Joe Biden and the jailbreak arm of the Democrat Party — but that’s no excuse for giving the DOJ police-state powers to spy on the finances of innocent Americans.
One of the lessons learned by the tyrants running our government since 9/11 is how easily it has been to expand their power over our daily lives through the execution of a multitude of Orwellian programs designed to spy on us in the name of “safety and security” — a lesson Joe Biden has learned very well.
For example, in one of his first orders of business, Biden announced a plan to turn the IRS into a sort of a financial Big Brother with power to spy on every financial transaction recorded in nearly every bank account — he later proposed financing this new power with $80 billion as part of his Build Back Better agenda.
Specifically, Biden’s plan empowers the IRS to “monitor” the financial activity of account holders by having banks report transactions for accounts holding over $600. When asked at the time if the IRS monitoring provision would remain in the Build Back Better Plan, Nancy Pelosi emphatically said “yes.”
“Yes. There are concerns that some people have, but if people are breaking the law and not paying their taxes, one way to track them is through the banking measure.” (emphasis mine)
As the details of Biden’s Build Back Better plan make clear, this enhanced tax enforcement will mean scooping up additional data from crypto wallets, bank accounts, and third-party payment providers such as PayPal and Venmo. And that’s on top of Biden’s earlier order for the IRS to give greater scrutiny to transactions in the so-called sharing (aka gig) economy.
In September 2021, I wrote a piece describing how Biden’s IRS spying plan could be called a PATRIOT Act for the IRS based on the similarities found in his plan and the original post-9/11 PATRIOT Act that acquired banking information to fight terrorism.
A little-known provision in the PATRIOT Act changed the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act, a change that established new standards for banks to identify customers and maintain records, along with a requirement to report cash transactions over $10,000. Republicans and Democrats claim this prevented the funding of terrorist activities. The reality is that it made it easier for government to spy on our finances in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.
When the IRS spying plan was announced, Biden and the Democrats said it would only target the “rich,” but the agency will have the ability to spy on the bank accounts and other finances of nearly every law-abiding, tax-compliant American because every bank and financial institution will be required to comply with IRS demands for information.
As Tax Policy Center Senior Fellow Steve Rosenthal pointed out in the Journal:
Although administration officials talk about going after wealthy tax dodgers with their expanded staffing, the bank reporting proposal wouldn’t do much to them, he said. That is because the highest-earning Americans are employing more sophisticated tax-dodging techniques than just declining to declare all their income.
The bank-reporting rules are designed to get a different group of people altogether—business owners who inflate their deductions and don’t report all their income.
“This is a political call by the Biden administration: Let’s not tell those guys, small-business guys, what we’re doing,” Mr. Rosenthal said.
The Biden administration calls this equal opportunity spying equity. (emphasis mine)
Giving the IRS power to spy on our finances creates a serious threat to our personal privacy, and it lays the groundwork for other agencies to use it anytime government deems it necessary to protect and advance the interests of the state — for example, the DOJ COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
Our computers. Our cell phones. Our bank accounts. Nothing is off limits when it comes to satisfying Washington’s unquenchable thirst for complete power over our daily lives — a reality made worse by COVID tyranny and the thousands of liberty-killing laws created by the state post-9/11.
Weaponizing the Department of Justice to spy on the finances of Americans who received COVID aid from the government is just another incarnation of the police state started by Obama and continued under Trump that has come sharply into focus under Joe Biden and his Department of Justice.
This should serve as a reminder to liberty-loving conservatives of the lengths politicians in both parties are willing to go to manipulate and pervert seemingly clear constitutional standards for the benefit of the state and its agenda . . . liberty be damned.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.