Fact check: Does Senate candidate Cheri Beasley support higher taxes for the middle class?

After Congress reached a deal in July to pass the Inflation Reduction Act in an effort to boost the economy, attack ads against Democratic Senate candidates began to circulate on TV and online.

An ad released in late September by the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican-affiliated super PAC, claims that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley supports higher taxes for the middle class. U.S. Republican Rep. Ted Budd, an opponent running against Beasley, has repeated the claims.

An opinion piece from The Wall Street Journal is cited as one of the sources of this information in the ad. It also claims that Beasley tweeted her support for a “tax increase on everyone” on Aug. 7, but the tweet it references does not mention a universal tax increase.

“Both NC senators just voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which would lower costs at a time when millions of families are struggling,” Beasley tweeted. “North Carolinians deserve more. As Senator, I will always fight for the people — not cower to corporate special interests.”

The Senate Leadership Fund sponsored similar ads against candidates in Wisconsin, Ohio, Nevada and Pennsylvania, according to its YouTube page.

The claims against Beasley

The 30-second ad begins with a shot of Beasley speaking to a crowd, then cuts to a person opening a wallet that appears to be empty.

“Liberal politician Cheri Beasley is coming for you and your wallet, with higher taxes on almost everyone, even families making under $75,000,” the ad says. “And Beasley’s going to knock on your door with an army of new IRS agents.”

It continues with images of armed IRS agents busting down the door at home and escorting a woman out in handcuffs, and a family of five eating dinner at their kitchen table. The ad ends with a different shot of Beasley addressing a crowd.

“Beasley backs the liberal scheme to spend billions auditing the middle class, sending the IRS beast to collect her taxes on working families, the ad says. “Politician Cheri Beasley costs us too much.”

RELATED: Does the Inflation Reduction Act live up to its name? Fact-checking the campaign claims

How accurate (or not) are the claims?

The ad claims that Beasley wants to raise taxes on nearly everyone, but information from her campaign website shows that she is against tax hikes on the middle class.

One of Beasley’s goals is to make the Child Tax Credit program permanent. The program was implemented as part of the American Rescue Plan during the COVID-19 pandemic to help families with children get a tax break, according to the IRS website.

The “army of new IRS agents” and “IRS beast” appear to refer to funding for 87,000 new IRS employees that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, the IRS will not be hiring 87,000 auditors as has been suggested by Republican lawmakers. The new hires will be spaced out over the course of 10 years and will replace staff who plan to leave within the next five years because of retirement, Time reported.

In addition to hiring auditors, part of the increased budget will be used to hire new IT technicians and taxpayer support staff, The Charlotte Observer reported in August.

The Inflation Reduction Act does include $45.6 billion in funding for “enforcement” of IRS policies, CNBC reported. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said the funding will not lead to increased targeting of “small businesses and middle-income” Americans in a letter to the Senate.

Charlotte Observer reporter Evan Santiago contributed to this story.