At a speech in August, South Carolina state senator Lee Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham for the Republican nomination, warned that IRS “Brown Shirts” might start enforcing Obamacare with semiautomatic rifles.
Bright cited a conspiracy theory promoted by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), who started spreading the alarm in June when he witnessed “IRS agents are training with a semi-automatic rifle AR-15.” In real life, this is because the IRS has a criminal investigations unit that has since the 1920s pursued drug traffickers and other criminal organizations, and which during the Bush administration started providing extra support for anti-terrorism efforts – activities which require special agents to be “equipped similarly to other federal, state and local law enforcement organizations.”
But according to Bright, “If that’s true, and they’re going to assault weapons training, the Brown Shirts are next. Because that’s the enforcement group for Obamacare is the IRS. And if you don’t have an IRS, you don’t have Obamacare.”
We stumbled across Bright’s speech thanks to the Charleston City Paper , which had sent a reporter to the event.
After Bright presented his theory about the IRS-Obamacare Brown Shirts, an audience member asked him what he thought of various anti-government conspiracy theories, including that “FEMA is training a militia.”
“Most of the federal government is a scam,” Bright said, adding that “FEMA is the biggest scam in the world.”
To make his point, Bright told a story of the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina asking for private donations to help with the relief from an earthquake and getting so many that he had to stop accepting aid – all without the help of FEMA. We would really like to know what earthquake he is talking about that was small enough that FEMA wouldn’t intervene but large enough that it required a large-scale private donations effort.
In fact, FEMA has aided in a number of recent South Carolina disasters, including providing more than $8.3 million in aid to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
Later in the speech, Bright claimed that federal earthquake and tornado relief, along with food assistance, were not the role of the federal government and were just being used to “get votes.” We've previously reported on Bright's mocking of food stamp recipients.