Conservative group uses ad to target Sen. Moran over IRS funding

A conservative group is using the ad to influence Senator Moran's vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill over IRS funding.
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - We’ve been hearing from many viewers about an ad running on our air.

The 30-second spot is paid for by a group seeking to influence Senator Jerry Moran’s vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Information from Axios and The Washington Post link the ad to the Coalition to Protect American Workers. It’s a conservative anti-tax group founded earlier this year with Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

They have been running near identical ads in other states targeting Democrat and Republican lawmakers in other states as part of a six-figure ad buy.

They’re going after Senator Moran for the nearly trillion-dollar infrastructure bill announced last month. Specifically, a small part that all hinges on funding for the IRS.

“We can see since this group is talking about a fairly small part of the bill that they really don’t think that the large parts of the bill about things like road funding, bridge funding, and train funding are effective ways to criticize and move Senator Moran,” said Wichita State University Political Scientist Dr. Neal Allen.

Senator Moran has been part of a group of 21 Democrat and GOP Senators negotiating with the White House on the infrastructure bill. The ad is going after the Kansas senator because he serves as a swing vote.

Dr. Allen said, “The group is not trying to defeat Senator Moran for re-election. They’re trying to move his vote on an issue they care about.”

That bill allocates $40 billion to the IRS to increase the staffing of their enforcement division to address the tax gap - collecting unpaid taxes. This has long been underfunded. It would focus on those who have been able to circumvent paying taxes or paying at a lower amount.

The money collected through this would be used to pay for parts of the infrastructure bill. While estimates vary, it’s expected to generate a couple to several hundred billion dollars.

The Coalition to Protect American Workers, in their ad, called this raising taxes.

“The IRS frankly right now doesn’t have the necessary resources to enforce all of its provisions and get the US government all of the money it deserves because while the IRS might be underfunded, law firms and accountants who work for people with large tax obligations are very well funded,” said Dr. Allen.

Dr. Allen said this is also an easy target to go after and can serve as a galvanizing issue for small-government conservatives.

“An ad like this is no more than a hassle for Senator Moran because he is bulletproof for re-election,” he said.

A spokesperson for Senator Moran provided a statement to Eyewitness News:

Earlier in the week, Senator Moran told Politico, he had concerns, and increasing funding for the IRS presents some red flags.

Senator Moran’s vote on the infrastructure bill could be a decisive one, as Democrats will need 10 Republicans to support the plan to overcome the filibuster. Senator Moran is among 11 GOP Senators to agree to last month’s framework.

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