BOSTON -- Calling it 'an agency out control,' a coalition of groups re-enacted the Boston Tea Party Tuesday to kick off a nationwide campaign to reform the Internal Revenue Service.
About 100 people watched as several boxes of tea were thrown into the Boston Harbor on the site of the original protest, in which colonists dressed as Indians threw tea overboard Dec. 16, 1773, to protest British taxation without representation.
'We're trying to inform the American public about what the IRS is doing,' said Paul DesFosses, a retired IRS agent from the National Coalition of IRS Whistle-Blowers. 'The first goal is to eliminate this cancer that's grown up.
'It's an agency out of control. The IRS has grown so powerful. It's changed from a policy of public service to a policy of public control,' he said.
DesFosses said the IRS often uses illegal methods to collect taxes and harasses anyone who criticizes the agency.
'If you criticize the IRS they send agents out to watch you. That's about as un-American as you can get,' he said. 'When taxpayers' dollars are being spent to watch people who are coming together legally there's a question about whether or not it's legal.'
Former Rep. George Hansen, R-Idaho, who now heads the Washington-based New Continental Congress, said his organization planned to run advertisements aimed at educating Americans about IRS abuses as part of the campaign.
'We came up to kind of kick off the other side of tax reform,' Hansen said. 'The president has been pushing structural change in the tax system. We're saying you're not going to have real tax reform unless your reform the IRS.
'They're intimidating and abusing the taxpayer in the process of collecting taxes,' he said.