Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a 2012 GOP presidential hopeful, has continually touted her time as a “federal tax attorney” to bolster her economic credentials. “I’m a former federal tax litigation attorney. My husband and I started a successful company. We’re business people. We’re job creators,” Bachmann has said.
But as National Journal noted, Bachmann leaves out a key part of the story — her job was to sue taxpayers on behalf of the United States government:
You’ll never guess what Michele Bachmann, the rabble-rousing, tax-reviling, government-bashing idol of America’s tea party movement, used to do for a living. Sue tax scofflaws for the Internal Revenue Service.
As she flexes her credentials as a Republican presidential candidate in a field of former governors and corporate executives, Bachmann is more likely to describe herself as a “former federal tax litigation attorney’’—as she did in her first nationally televised debate—than as a three-term member of Congress. But she rarely, if ever, mentions the one and only employer of her legal services: the U.S. Department of Treasury.
During an interview with the conservative publication Newsmax, Bachmann derided the IRS as “the most heartless organization that anyone knows of.” At other times, she has called the IRS a “new social welfare agency,” that will have “the right to confiscate our tax refunds.” But an Associated Press report during Bachmann’s 2006 Congressional campaign “cited Bachmann’s (now-defunct) web site, http://www.keepitpositive06.com, where she said she was proud of her work for the Treasury Department.”
Bachmann has also used the IRS as a whipping boy during her crusade against the Affordable Care Act, falsely claiming that the ACA would empower IRS agents to enforce the law. Factcheck.org called this claim “flat-out wrong.”
Bachmann is taking a rabidly anti-tax position during the campaign, saying that she favors the highly regressive Fair tax (even as she advocates for a tax plan that would raise taxes on low- and and middle-income households). And once upon a time, she helped the government agency that she now ceaselessly attacks collect the very taxes she now rails against.
Thinkprogress intern Sarah Bufkin contributed research to this post.