Updated July 23, 2004










3,000 Tax Honesty Protesters Demand End to Persecution


By James P. Tucker Jr.


Nearly 3,000 taxpayers from 50 states have joined in a lawsuit demanding that the United States end retaliation against citizens who question their government over going to war, imposing taxes on labor and printing funny money.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington July 19, under auspices of the We the People Foundation, by Mark Lane, longtime general counsel to the now-defunct Spotlight and its publisher, Liberty Lobby.

Plaintiffs argue that, when citizens exercise their First Amendment right to petition government for a redress of grievances, they suffer retaliation from the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies.

“These are people who have, for years, raised questions,” Lane told American Free Press. “The only answer came when the IRS told The New York Times that ‘we are answering those petitions through enforcement actions.’ Congress used to answer all questions raised by citizens. The foundation has a good case under the law.”

In the past five years, the foundation said, 14,592 citizens have petitioned the president and every member of Congress for redress of grievances relating to the invasion of Iraq, the taxing clauses of the Constitution and the direct tax on labor, the money clauses and national debt and privacy clauses and the Patriot Act.

“Thus far, the executive and legislative branches have arrogantly refused to answer the people’s questions; they have refused to be held accountable to the Constitution,” Bob Schulz, chairman of the foundation, told AFP.

The Constitution “not only guarantees the people’s right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and obligates the government to properly respond, but guarantees the people the right to retain their money until their grievances are addressed,” Schulz said.

“Instead of answering the questions the government has been retaliating against the growing number of people who have decided to take a principled stand in defense of their First Amendment rights by retaining the money,” Schulz said.

They will ask the court, he said, to order the government to answer the questions and, if it refuses, “to enjoin the administration from further punishing the petitioners until the questions are answered.”

However, government and some private lawyers say it is illegal to refuse to pay taxes on such grounds and those who do risk prison and fines. “I’m not advising anybody to do that,” Lane said.

Joining Schulz as plaintiffs of record were three former IRS agents: Joseph Banister, John Turner and Sherry Jackson.

The government is retaliating against petitioners “by sending plaintiffs threatening letters; placing liens on plaintiffs’ property; levying and seizing plaintiffs property and/or wages; raiding plaintiffs’ homes and/or offices; forcing plaintiffs to appear before administrative, civil and/or criminal tribunals; denying plaintiffs due process or by some other enforcement action,” the foundation charges.

The judiciary has never required the IRS or Congress “to specify where exactly within the [tax] code that an individual is mandated by law to pay taxes on wages he has earned,” the petition argues.

Unanswered questions include how the United States can invade Iraq without a declaration of war by Congress as required by the Constitution and how the Federal Reserve—a private group of bankers—can print dollars when the Constitution limits that power to Congress.

“The people are the source of all political power and, in America, all of government is limited by a written Constitution,” Schulz said.

“Any right that is not enforceable is not a right,” he added. “The petition process is the only non-violent instrument available for the individual and the minority to hold government accountable to the Constitution. The ballot is merely an instrument for the majority.”


© American Free Press 2004