I have been covering the so-called "Tax Honesty" movement for over ten years. The core question about whether or not the 16th Amendment and the income tax are kosher has seen me interview a long list of researchers, tax honesty advocates and gadflies. Many of those interviews became WND Q&As, including Bill Benson, Joe Banister, Bob Schulz, Larry Becraft, Devvy Kidd, and others.
As an academic question, there appears to be substance to the claim that the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified. However, the reality is, and has been, that if you don't choose to participate in the voluntary U.S. tax system, you can end up in a world of hurt.
Bob Schulz and his We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education have done some remarkable work that was supposed to lead to historic hearings in D.C. in which the IRS and the Department of Justice were supposed to actually answer questions presented by a group of citizen tax honesty advocates. Supposed to!
I was looking forward to going to D.C. to observe the hearings and to broadcast and report on them for WorldNetDaily.com. It was going to be historic -- congressional hearings in which We The People actually got to ask our government questions. Then Saturday morning, I opened my e-mail:
Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-6-MD) today canceled a tax policy forum scheduled for February 27 and 28, 2002. "I am quite dismayed by Operation 'Wait to File until the Trial,'" said Bartlett. Bartlett communicated his decision in a letter to Robert L. Schulz, Chairman of the Board of We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education, Inc., who had requested the forum.
Bartlett wrote Schulz, "The information that you are currently disseminating concerning the February 27 & 28 forum is misleading. ... I will not be a party to advocating the non-payment of federal income taxes."
In the letter, Bartlett noted, "your [Bob Schulz] rhetoric has made it impossible for the forum to take place because the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice will not participate."
Hold on! This is weak. The IRS and DOJ had already supposedly agreed (albeit reluctantly) to participate. At least that is what we had been told. What has changed in rhetoric or tone to get their panties in a bunch?
I couldn't get ahold of Schulz, since he was still in New York in the wake of his "Hannity & Colmes" appearance, but I did speak with Devvy Kidd and asked her if Schulz had failed to communicate to Bartlett what he was proposing. Kidd said that Bartlett had been aware of the 'Wait to File' announcement a week prior to its release.
So what's the deal? If Bartlett had reservations about what Schulz was doing, why didn't he try to bridle him?
If Bartlett had told Schulz to chill and not run the piece and Schulz blew him off and went ahead despite his lone congressional advocates' support, maybe one could understand the pique.
Congressman Bartlett claims he remains committed to ensuring the right of Bob Schulz and other citizens to exercise their constitutional rights under the First Amendment to get answers to their questions about federal tax policy from the government. However, he has pulled the rug out from what would have been historic hearings.
Instead, Bartlett has offered as "the alternative" to forward Schulz's questions to both the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service for responses and to subsequently post both the questions and responses on his congressional website.
Reportedly, there has been significant pressure to abort the hearings. The government dodged one bullet when the original hearings (which were scheduled for mid September 2001) were postponed in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the hearings would take place in February. Now this!
There is a long list of reasons why the government did not want to participate in the scheduled event. Bartlett had demonstrated unique courage and tenacity in lending the weight of his office as a catalyst for the hearings.
The cancellation of the hearings is either the result of an epic screw up by Schulz or a disappointing capitulation by Bartlett to the powers that be.
refusal of the government to address the concerns of Schulz et al. only
lends credibility to what the government claims are impotent questions.