In a recent poll for his Senate campaign, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA.) compares the Internal Revenue Service to a terrorist group, asking voters, “When you go to your mailbox or answer your phone, who do you fear more?” The poll, posted on Broun’s campaign website, lists “IRS” and “Al-Qaeda” as the two possible responses.
The poll suggests Americans should fear the IRS as much or more than they fear Al-Qaeda, presumably because of the recent scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative groups applying for 501 (c)(4) status. The IRS has apologized for what it has called the “inappropriate” and “insensitive” targeting of conservative groups, and has vowed that the targeting has stopped. The government is investigating the case, which affected about 500 organizations with terms such as “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9-12 project” in their names. Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, is a terrorist group that has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.
At a Republican and Tea Party gathering outside the capitol in May, Broun made it clear that he strongly opposes the IRS’s conduct. “It is the strong arm of the government that is trying to affect elections, to try to stop the freedom of speech that we are guaranteed under the First Amendment, and all Americans should just shudder and shiver at the prospects of a government out of control, too big, spending too much money,” Broun said.
Of course, the poll is not the first time Broun has made controversial comparisons or remarks. In 2001, he compared progressive Americans to Al-Qaeda, saying “the progressives and the socialists” want to “destroy [America] from the inside.” In 2008, he called then-President-elect Barack Obama a Marxist and compared him to Adolph Hitler (comments he later apologized for). He’s also referred to the theory of evolution as “lies straight from the pit of hell” and global warming as a “hoax” with “no scientific evidence.”