As U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann continues her rapid rise to the top of the 2012 GOP presidential field, the fiery Minnesotan’s past is under increasingly intense scrutiny.
The WSJ reports that Bachmann — a favourite with the Tea Party — got her start as a tax collector, a career move that appears to be at odds with Bachmann’s ardent anti-big government, anti-tax agenda.
Via Bachmann’s congressional website:
“Rather than taking money from the hands of the middle class to pay for a large, overbearing federal government, I believe in letting hard-working taxpayers keep more of what they earn. In my work as a former federal tax attorney, I saw firsthand that our nation’s tax laws are hard to understand and undermine the country’s prosperity by imposing needlessly harsh penalties on work, savings, and investments.”
What Bachmann doesn’t mention here is her “former federal tax attorney” job was actually catching delinquent taxpayers for the Internal Revenue Service, an agency reviled by many in the Tea Party movement.
The National Journal reports that Bachmann worked for the IRS district counsel office in St. Paul, Minn., from 1988 to 1992, representing the government against tax scofflaws.
In one case, Bachmann took Marvin Manypenny to court after the Native American activist failed to pay taxes as part of a long-running dispute with the federal government over Indian lands.
“She was very—how do I put this?—haughty and curt,” the 64-year-old Manypenny told National Journal. “I tried to state my contentions to her and it was like talking to a brick wall.”
Because most of her cases ended in settlements, the suit against Mr. Manypenny is one of the only publicly available cases. But it is just one of “hundreds of civil and criminal cases” Bachmann worked on, according to her congressional candidate.
If you or anyone you know faced tax collector Bachmann, we’d love to hear from you. Email [email protected]
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