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Dr. Ben Carson calls for revocation of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) tax-exempt status

140713-Ben-Carson-ftrThey demanded he drop out of the race. They’re a 501c3 organization, and such organizations are not supposed to intervene in campaigns either on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate. Clearly the gang of thugs at Hamas-linked CAIR, designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates, is in violation of the law here, but it is almost certain that Obama’s politicized Justice Department will take no action.

“Carson: Pro-Islam nonprofit broke the law with political attack,” by Bradford Richardson, The Hill, October 3, 2015:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says a nonprofit Islamic advocacy group broke the law by calling for him to drop out of the presidential race.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a public press conference demanding that I withdraw from the presidential race,” Carson said in an email to supporters Saturday.

“Here’s the catch – CAIR is a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the IRS rules explicitly prohibit such groups from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of – or in opposition to – a candidate,” the email continues.

Carson said he is demanding the IRS take action against the group and started an online petition to remove CAIR’s tax-exempt status.

A spokesman for CAIR called for Carson to drop out of the presidential race after the GOP candidate said a Muslim should not be elected president.

CAIR is a 501(c)(3) group with tax-exempt status, according to the group’s website.

The group previously lost its tax-exempt status in 2011 for not filing tax returns for three years in a row, but regained it the next year.

“We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president,” CAIR said in response to Carson.

“CAIR is not in violation of any IRS regulation in that we did not ‘participate in’ or ‘intervene in’ any political campaign. We, as mandated by our mission as a civil rights organization, merely expressed the opinion of our community that a candidate whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution is unfit for public office.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Swedish bishop wants to remove crosses from church and mark direction of Mecca to make it more inviting for Muslims

Archbishop of Canterbury urges more interfaith dialogue to ease fears of Muslim community

Watch the IRS Rob and Extort a Convenience Store Owner

The Institute for Justice reports on the strange, tragic case of Ken Quran:

Khalid “Ken” Quran moved to America in 1997, leaving behind a life as a fireman in a town ten miles north of Jerusalem, near Ramallah. Ken now lives in Greenville, N.C., with his wife, Dina, and their four kids.

Shortly after moving to this country, Ken purchased a small convenience store in Greenville, located on a dusty patch of land near the airport. Ken worked days and nights for years, often opening and closing the store, in order to build his business. He made a living selling goods at razor-thin margins and hardly ever taking a vacation.

Then, in June 2014, the government seized his entire bank account — more than $150,000. This was money that Ken worked for years to earn, and that he was counting on for his retirement. Ken had no prior warning before the government seized the account. The government told him they were taking the money because he withdrew cash from the bank in amounts under $10,000.

But the truly shocking thing is what happened next. A group of government agents — both from the IRS and local police — came to Ken’s store with an agreement already written up, under which Ken would agree to forever forfeit the money to the federal government.

The agents searched his store with dogs, barred the entrance to keep out customers, and then demanded that he sign the paper. Ken initially refused, explaining that he did not read English well and did not want to sign an agreement he could not understand.

Then, under compulsion — after one of the local police yelled and demanded that he sign, and after one of the IRS agents made clear that, otherwise, their next stop would be to talk to Ken’s wife to pressure her — Ken agreed to sign.

Sign the petition to get Ken’s money backLearn more about Ken and others like him who have had their legal and hard-earned money taken away for no good reason — and what the Institute for Justice is doing to help them fight back.

By Anything Peaceful

Anything Peaceful is FEE’s new online ideas marketplace, hosting original and aggregate content from across the Web.

7 Things the Left Should Apologize For

While attending a gathering of conservatives a few years ago in Washington, D.C., I was confronted by a far Left group conducting an amateur “ambush interview.” They demanded I opine on the comments of a number of 2012 Republican U.S. Senate candidates whom they found objectionable, and it was clear that they were seeking some sort of apology.

The Left loves to demand apologies from conservatives for grievances both real and imagined and, sadly, sometimes we play along with this ridiculous game.

The Left loves to demand apologies from conservatives for grievances both real and imagined and, sadly, sometimes we play along with this ridiculous game. I frequently wonder why conservatives don’t pay back the favor and demand apologies from the Left.

At the macro level, the Left should apologize to America for their continued allegiance to European-style welfare statism. At the micro level, they should apologize for their ongoing use of hateful division politics.

These two guiding ideologies of the Left have caused immeasurable poverty, misery and grief. Their intent to divide us is leading to concertina-wire-reinforced borders among the individual race, gender, and religious silos that they have chosen for us.

With the continued focus on the 2016 presidential elections we should start demanding apologies from the Left. Here are seven things the Left is largely responsible for which I’m demanding apologies before Election Day.

The death of four American patriots in Benghazi and the disgusting lies told to the families of the deceased…

  1. Sanctuary cities and the murder of Kate Steinle, by an illegal immigrant deported, an unforgivable five times.
  2. The ruthless political targeting of conservatives by the IRS to silence conservatives and advance the Left’s political agenda.
  3. The Obama economic “recovery,” where a tragic 1 in 5 Americans are now on some form of government welfare and over 90 million Americans are not working.
  4. The continuing destruction of the economies and education infrastructures of America’s once great inner cities by liberal governance.
  5. The massive health insurance premium hikes, outrageously high deductibles, and doctor and hospital restrictions imposed on middle class Americans by the disastrous Obamacare legislation.
  6. The death of four American patriots in Benghazi and the disgusting lies told to the families of the deceased, and to concerned American citizens, by the Obama administration afterwards.
  7. And, most importantly, the continued shredding of our Constitutional Republic, and what little faith we had left in our government.

Demand an apology from the Left for this, America deserves it.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying before Congress on Benghazi is courtesy by Bill Clark Roll Call CQ | AP Photo.

Real Hero Joe Louis: A Fighter on Many Fronts by Lawrence W. Reed

If you remember the famous 1938 fight for the world heavyweight boxing title between Detroit’s Joe Louis and Germany’s Max Schmeling, you’ve been around awhile. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about it from your father or grandfather. It was a rematch that Louis, known as the “Brown Bomber,” won in just 124 seconds.

Joe Louis was a hero not only for who and what he fought and beat but also for maintaining his integrity along the way. He dealt personally with poverty and racism. He overcame a speech impediment and the loss of his father at an early age. He took on the best boxers of his day. He battled the Nazis. He crossed swords with the Internal Revenue Service. When he died at age 66 in 1981, he was widely revered as a champion of character and was beloved by good people of every color.

The grandson of slaves, Joe Louis Barrow was born in 1914 in Lafayette, Alabama. He barely spoke until he was in the second grade. At age 12, he moved with his mother, his stepdad, and his seven siblings to Detroit after a scare from the Ku Klux Klan. To his credit, Joe never viewed the racism of a few as indicative of the many. He judged men and women the way he wanted them to judge him: namely, by what Martin Luther King would call “the content of their character.” In spite of his mother’s desire that he pursue either cabinetmaking or the violin, he showed an early penchant for pugilism. He dropped “Barrow” and became simply “Joe Louis” when he started competing in the ring as a teenager, apparently because he didn’t want his mom to know he was boxing. She soon found out, as did the rest of the world.

Louis judged men and women the way he wanted them to judge him.

The Great Depression was in full swing when Louis fought the first big match of his amateur career in 1932. He lost to a future Olympian. Undaunted, he went on to win all but 3 of his next 53 fights (43 were knockouts) and caught the attention of boxing promoters. He went pro in 1934.

One of the most famous dates in boxing history is June 22, 1937. That’s when Louis went up against heavyweight titleholder James Braddock, knocking him out in the eighth round. Americans black and white stayed up all night across the country in celebration, but the joy was especially high in black communities. Here’s how author Langston Hughes described it:

Each time Joe Louis won a fight in those depression years, even before he became champion, thousands of black Americans on relief or W.P.A. and poor, would throng out into the streets all across the land to march and cheer and yell and cry because of Joe’s one-man triumphs. No one else in the United States has ever had such an effect on Negro emotions — or on mine. I marched and cheered and yelled and cried, too.

Of 72 professional fights, Louis scored 57 knockouts and lost only three matches. For 12 years (1937–1949), he held the heavyweight championship. It was the longest stretch of winning titles in the sport’s history. His closely watched 1938 defeat of Max Schmeling embarrassed the Third Reich because it said to the world, “This Aryan superiority thing is nothing more than propaganda.”

A month after Pearl Harbor, Louis enlisted in the US Army and went off for basic training to a segregated cavalry unit at Fort Riley, Kansas. The army used him to cheer up the troops by sending him some 20,000 miles for 96 boxing matches in front of two million soldiers. He was eventually given the Legion of Merit for his “incalculable contribution to the general morale.” It was in the army that he befriended Jackie Robinson, the future major league baseball player. Louis persuaded a commanding officer to drop charges against Robinson for punching out a fellow soldier who called him the N-word.

Nobody who ever really knew Joe Louis, it seems, had an unkind word for him. Perhaps the worst ever said was actually spoken in jest, by fellow boxer Max Baer: “I define fear as standing across the ring from Joe Louis and knowing he wants to go home early.”

A very different fight that Louis waged is less well known than his boxing. It was with the Internal Revenue Service. As we do in our day, Louis had to contend in his with a president whose fingers itched to get into the pockets of wealthy Americans. I first learned of this story from historian Burton Folsom, author of the superb book New Deal or Raw Deal?

In 1935, President Roosevelt pushed Congress to raise the top income tax rate to 79 percent, then later to 90 percent during and after World War II. In the war years, Joe Louis donated money to military charities, but the complicated tax laws wouldn’t allow him to deduct those gifts. Although Louis saw almost none of the money he won in charity fights, the IRS credited the full amounts as taxable income paid to Louis. He had even voluntarily paid back to the city of Detroit all the money he and his family had received in welfare years before, but that counted for nothing with the feds.

Louis retired as heavyweight champion in 1949, but his tax debt was approaching $500,000. After an IRS ruling in 1950, the debt began accumulating interest each year. Louis felt compelled to come out of retirement in 1950 to fight Ezzard Charles, the new champion. After the fight, his mother begged him to stop but, he said, “she couldn’t understand how much money I owed…. The government wanted their money, and I had to try to get it to them.”

The next year, Louis fought Rocky Marciano and lost. The fight earned him $300,000. With a 90 percent tax rate on high incomes, what he had left was peanuts, but he gave it all to the government. When his mother died in 1953, the IRS swiped the $667 she left him in her will. With interest compounding, his debt by 1960 had soared to more than $1 million.

According to Folsom, “Louis refereed wrestling matches, made guest appearances on quiz shows and served as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas — anything to bring in money” for the IRS.

The notorious mobster Frank Lucas (still living today at 85) was so disgusted with the IRS’s treatment of Louis that he once paid a $50,000 tax lien against the boxer. Even Max Schmeling came to the rescue, assisting with money when Louis was alive and then paying funeral expenses when the boxer died in 1981.

You may not think of Louis in connection with the game of golf, but he made an impact there as well. Golf was his longtime, personal hobby. In 1952, he became the first black American to play at a PGA Tour event. Just as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Joe Louis broke it in golf. He cofounded The First Tee, a charity that introduces golf to underprivileged children. Today, his 68-year-old son, Joe Louis Barrow Jr., is the organization’s CEO.

Joe Louis, a decorated army veteran and world-class athlete, remained a symbol of black achievement in spite of his tax troubles, which finally came to an end when the IRS settled and the US government — to which he had given so much — finally got off his back.

When Louis died, President Reagan waived the rules to allow him to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. He was a man who fought on many fronts and emerged as a great example every time.

For further information, see:

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s.

EDITORS NOTE: Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

D.C. Court Affirms pro-Israel Z Street Case against IRS

Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of pro-Israel group Z STREET on the grounds of viewpoint discrimination by the IRS violating the First Amendment.  The Opinion of the DC Circuit Court clears the way for Z STREET to proceed with discovery in its case against the IRS.

The Power Line Blog noted these comments of Z STREET:

Z STREET looks forward to the discovery phase of litigation in which it will seek to learn the nature and origin of the “Israel Special Policy” which the IRS applied to Z STREET’s tax exemption application. Z STREET will seek to learn how such a policy was created, who created it, who approved it, to whom it was applied, as well as all other information regarding this policy.

A series of IRS documents called “Be On the LookOut” lists, which were released by Congress in June, 2013, pursuant to the TIGTA investigation, have already established that, as Z STREET alleges, while Z STREET’s application for tax exempt status was pending, the IRS did indeed create a special category of review for organizations seeking such status, if they were engaged in what the IRS called “occupied territory advocacy.”

Z STREET looks forward to using the discovery process to learn more about the precise nature, origin and effect of this policy, which the DC Circuit has now made clear is a violation of essential Constitutional rights.

In a May 7th , 2015  Iconoclast post on the arguments before the DC Circuit, it was clear that the Circuit Judges were displeased with brief filed by the IRS Counsel.   We wrote about the background for today’s important ruling:

It’s hard enough being a Zionist in the US, given a passive Jewish community supine under the sway of Obama Administration isolating Israel. Z STREET, where I am a member of its board, has fought a special process by the IRS sidelining its application for 501 ( c) (3) status because- get this- it advocates for an ally where terrorism occurs against it. Call that ultimate chutzpah, and you might come close it what it is.   That is absurd. However, that is at the heart of the viewpoint discrimination issue under the First Amendment successfully argued in the filing made by Z STREET’s counsel. The IRS had unsuccessfully fought in the DC Federal District court to dismiss the Z STREET case  in  May 2014. The lower Court  granted  discovery to Z STREET on the grounds of viewpoint discrimination.  The  IRS appeal  of the lower court ruling granting discovery was heard at a D.C.  Circuit Court  of Appeals  oral arguments proceeding  on May 4, 2015.  The three judge Appellate panel virtually raked over the coals the IRS counsel and leadership of the federal tax agency, several  of whom were in court witnessing  their upbraiding .    A May 7, 2015  Wall Street Journal  editorial lambasted the IRS and  the Justice Department for violating the First Amendment rights of Z STREET , “The IRS Goes to Court”.  The tag line says it all: “The agency suggests it can discriminate for 270 days. Judges gasp.”

In an opinion filed today on the matter of Z Street v Koskinen. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, DC Circuit Judge David Tatel affirmed the arguments presented by  Z Street’s  Counsel,  Jerome Marcus.  Below is  a summary of  the Opinion filed by Judge Tatel:

USCA Case #15-5010 Document #1558566    6-19-2015

Before: GARLAND, Chief Judge, TATEL, Circuit Judge, and SENTELLE, Senior Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the Court filed by

Circuit Judge TATEL:

Z Street, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about Zionism” and “the facts relating to the Middle East,”applied for a section 501 (c )(3) tax exemption. Based on a conversation its lawyer had with an IRS agent, Z Street alleges that the agency has an “Israel Special Policy” under which applications from  organizations holding “political views inconsistent with those espoused by the Obama administration” receive increased “scrutiny[y]” that results in such applications “tak[ing] longer to process than those made by organizations without that characteristic”.

”Z Street sued the Commissioner, alleging that the “Israel Special Policy” violates the First Amendment. The Commissioner moved to dismiss, arguing that the action is barred by the Anti Injunction Act, which prohibits suits to “restrain[] the assessment or collection of any tax.” The district court, assuming the truth of Z Street’s allegations—as it must at this stage of the litigation—denied the motion explaining that Z Street was not seeking to restrain the “assessment or collection” of a tax, but rather to prevent the IRS from delaying consideration of its application in violation of the First Amendment. We affirm.

Consider this the lengths to which the Administration will go to deny pro-Zionist views  opposing groups like J Street , Jewish Voices for Peace, Peace Now; all with IRC 501 (c ) (3)  tax exemptions. The irony is that these groups are pursuing BDS, delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish nation of Israel, America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Did the IRS Break the Law by Outsourcing an Audit to a High-Priced Law Firm?

By outsourcing an audit to a high-priced law firm, the IRS might have broken the law, and the Senate Finance Committee Chairman wants to know why.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wrote a scathing letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen asking why his agency hired the “law firm of Quinn Emanuel on a $2.2 million contract” to assist in auditing Microsoft. “This contract marks the first time, to the Committee’s knowledge, that the agency has hired a private contractor to take such an involved role in an examination.”

Hatch is also asking why the IRS “issued a temporary regulation, without a notice and comment period” allowing the firm to “take compulsory, sworn testimony” weeks after it hired the firm.

Sen. Hatch has three problems with what the IRS has done.

Action Defies Will of Congress

First by hiring the firm, Sen. Hatch believes the IRS has stepped outside the law. In writing the tax code, “the Congress intentionally chose to restrict the performance of certain revenue functions, such as examinations and the taking of sworn testimony, to the Secretary and limited delegates,” Sen. Hatch writes. This doesn’t include hiring a law firm for $1,000 per hour.

Doesn’t Protect Taxpayers

Second, letting an outside law firm investigate a tax case doesn’t protect taxpayers:

Unlike private contractors, Treasury Department officials are required to swear an oath to the Constitution and are subject to rules of conduct and federal law regulating their interactions with taxpayers. This is one of the core reasons Congress has sought to limit certain examination actions to these officials, who are accountable to the public and for whom there is a clear chain of command.

The IRS Has the Resources to Investigate

Third, Sen. Hatch questions if the IRS is using its resources properly:

The IRS has over 40,000 employees dedicated to enforcement efforts, including more than 36,000 tasked specifically with exams and collections. If none of these employees, nor IRS Office of Chief Counsel or Department of Justice tax attorneys, have sufficient expertise to undertake the examination at hand, we should have a broader conversation about your agency’s hiring practices and recruitment needs.

What Kind of Law Firm is Quinn Emanuel?

On the “About Us” page of its website, Quinn Emanuel crows, “Litigation is a zero sum game. There is a winner and a loser. We know how to win.” The page also features a quote about the firm from The American Lawyer: “Better. Faster. Tougher. Scarier.”

Sleep well, America, the IRS gave some pit bull plaintiff lawyers the power to “take compulsory, sworn testimony.”

In Fiscal Year 2014, Congress gave the IRS over $11 billion. If it thinks one particular investigation is that important, it should dedicate enough internal resources. What the IRS can’t do is act like it’s above the law.

Sen. Hatch is demanding that Quinn Emanuel stop its investigation and that the IRS answer his questions immediately.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of the Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Dennis Brack/Bloomberg.

Tax “Refunds”: Your Interest-Free Loan to the Government

What that check really means by DANIEL BIER.

It’s April, which means that most people will soon be getting checks from the government for overpaying on their taxes. It feels good to get a big chunk of money — especially since it was yours to begin with — but that tax “refund” cost you more than you realize.

Getting a refund means that, throughout the year, the IRS took more of your income than the law allows, and after you file your tax return, they have to give it back. But losing that money for months and months cost you something — goods and services you were not able to buy (and hence benefit from), investments you didn’t make, debt you didn’t pay down, savings you did not accumulate, etc.

A tax refund is, in essence, an interest-free loan from you to the government. Over at FiveThirtyEight, Ben Casselman and Reuben Fischer-Baum show you just how much that loan cost you.

More than three in four taxpayers get refunds, and the average amount they get back is close to $3,000, according to IRS data. That means that for many Americans, their annual refund is the biggest single check they’ll get all year.

What could you have done with that $3,000? Interest rates are very low for savings accounts right now, so that wouldn’t get you much, but if you had invested it in stocks (say, an index fund for the S&P 500), it would have earned you an extra $239.

The stock market can be risky, but the great thing about money is that you can do lots of things with it. Casselman and Fischer-Baum calculate:

Nearly 40 percent of American households carry a credit card balance, and those loans carry high interest rates. . . If instead of getting a $3,000 refund come April, you’d been able to pay off $250 in credit card debt each month (or put $250 a month less on your card), you would have avoided more than $300 in interest expenses by Tax Day.

And then there’s the cost of just not being able to buy things you need when you need them: a car, appliances, or whatever else you had to delay purchasing because the government “borrowed” your income. You missed out on the benefits those goods would have provided. Even if you have zero net tax liability at the end of the year and get all your money back, you’ll still be paying this cost.

People aren’t necessarily being stupid about their taxes, though. The tax code is so intricate and so complex that it can be impossible to predict what you’ll owe, and if you underpay, God help you, the IRS will charge you interest, as well as possible fines and fees.

The tax withholding system is designed to encourage taxpayers to overpay. It’s a sneaky, invisible tax levied on those without the financial savvy or expert advice to avoid it. And, as Don Boudreaux has pointed out in the past, it is a costly and regressive system that disproportionately hurts people who get income from wages versus those (mostly rich people) who get income from non-wage sources, like capital gains.

It’s nice to get your money back — but don’t forget, “refunds” aren’t free money.

Check out FiveThirtyEight’s calculator to see how much your interest-free loan to Uncle Sam cost you this year.

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

VIDEO: IRS Commissioner Admits the Tax Code Cannot Be Understood

“The best thing [Congress] could do would be simplify the tax code,” Koskinen told the National Press Club on March 31. “I don’t know how anybody understands all the ramifications of it.”

The IRS Commissioner also quipped that, “the IRS code is longer than the Bible, with none of the good news.” Read more.

Can the IRS Rewrite Obamacare?

The latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act might let them by EVAN BERNICK.

Does the law mean what it says, or whatever government officials want it to mean? That is the fundamental question confronting the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act. While the answer would be uncontroversial in an ordinary case, nothing involving Obamacare is uncontroversial. It will take a Court committed to the principle of judicial engagement to say what the law is, rather than what the executive branch thinks it ought to be.

King concerns the IRS’s interpretation of a section of the ACA concerning tax credits for buying health insurance from government-operated insurance exchanges. Wishing states to set up their own exchanges but lacking constitutional authority to force them to do so, Congress used a carrot-and-stick approach, authorizing tax credits to help qualifying individuals purchase health insurance “through an Exchange established by the State.”

As a failsafe, the ACA required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create federally operated exchanges in states that declined to set up their own. When 34 states declined to establish their own exchanges, the IRS decided that it would issue tax credits through federal exchanges, despite a lack of explicit authorization in the ACA’s text. It has been doing so since January 1st, 2014. The question is whether the ACA actually permits it to do so.

Why did the IRS think that it had such authority? In finalizing its rule, the IRS stated that its interpretation of the ACA was “consistent with the language, purpose, and structure of section 36B [of the ACA] and the Affordable Care Act as a whole.” The IRS invoked “statutory language” and “legislative history” as supporting its position without specifying what statutory language or legislative history supported its position. Thus, the IRS did not provide a reasoned explanation for its actions–it acted arbitrarily.

Despite the government’s efforts to paint the relevant text of the ACA as ambiguous, the meaning of the text is in fact clear. The law says the tax credits go only to people to purchase insurance on an “Exchange established by the State.” The ACA expressly provides that “‘State’ means each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.” Congress knew how to provide that non-state entities be treated as states–in fact, it did so elsewhere in the ACA, providing that a federal territory that establishes an exchange “shall be treated as a state.” It did not do so in this context. As Justice Alito put it at oral argument on Wednesday, “If Congress did not want the phrase ‘established by the State’ to mean what that would normally be taken to mean, why did they use that language?” Seeking to defend the IRS’s rule, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli bobbed and weaved but could not give a satisfactory answer, leading Justice Kennedy to observe that his arguments “seem(ed)… to go in the wrong direction.”

The Supreme Court has consistently held that agencies cannot rewrite congressionally enacted statutes under the pretense of implementing them. Last year, in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, the Court refused to engage in a “holistic” interpretation of the Indian Gaming Regulations Act to allow the state of Michigan to enjoin illegal gambling that did not take place on Indian lands. As Justice Kagan put it, writing for the Court, “This Court has no roving license, in even ordinary cases of statutory interpretation, to disregard clear language.” The language at issue in King, considered in context, is clear, and that meaning should prevail.

Why does it matter that the ACA be taken to mean what it says? What is at stake? Nothing less than the rule of law–the existence of a legal order characterized by a clear, non-contradictory, and stable rules that are general in scope and bind government officials no less than ordinary citizens.

If written laws can be revised after the fact by unelected bureaucrats who do not treat them as imposing any genuine constraints, we do not have the rule of law; instead, government officials can simply employ whatever reasoning they like (or none at all, as the IRS appears to have done here) in order to further whatever ends they think desirable. To allow the current administration to transform “X” into “not X” is to move us closer to that precipice. The “victors” today will be victims of unchecked government power tomorrow.

In order to defend the rule of law, the Supreme Court must engage with the law as written. It must seek the truth concerning the political choices and tradeoffs manifested in the ACA itself. As Thomas Paine once put it, “In America, the law is king.” In King, the Court must make plain where the authority lies.

ABOUT EVAN BERNICK

Evan is the Assistant Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

EDITORS NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Huffington PostThe featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

IRS: Legally Blind…Literally!

“One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real.” – Klaus Kinski

The last two years have once again provided the American people with great illumination into the arrogant, deceitful and nefarious ways in which the IRS treats the hardworking citizens who pay their tab. Hardly a day, week or month has gone by without a new revelation that left most of us dropping our jaws further and further and further.

In fact, there has been so much lawlessness that people became almost immune to the escalating nature of their egregious conduct. This week’s vile and disgusting revelation: the agency had a legally blind individual conducting the inspection of Lois Lerner’s hard drive. Yes, you read that right – the IRS used a blind employee to inspect Lerner’s hard drive.

Political appointees who play cat and mouse with Congressional investigators are something we’ve come to expect. But for a federal agency like the IRS to engage a blind employee as a pawn in a political chess match is best described in terms of moral depravity.

It’s yet another reason Congress must pass the FairTax Plan as soon as possible.

The FairTax is the only tax reform/replacement plan that disbands, defunds and eliminates the IRS. The flat tax doesn’t, the proposed income tax reforms don’t and neither do the other plans bantered about by various Members of Congress. Nope – they have to pass the genuine article, the real deal, the one and only FairTax Plan.

Peggy Green-Ernst to lead AFFT government relations

This is why I am so pleased to announce the FairTax campaign’s newest secret weapon for getting the FairTax passed. Enter Texas FairTax supporter, Peggy Green-Ernst, who has joined AFFT as our new Director of Government Relations. In this role Peggy will be directing AFFT’s federal and state government relations and lobbying activities, and will be expanding the FairTax Memorial initiative that was first initiated by the Florida FairTax team.

Peggy hails from the great state of Texas where she serves as the volunteer legislative director for the Texas FairTax organization. Her professional and political career encompassed the corporate, business, academic and nonprofit sectors, where she was:

  • Executive Director of the Housing Roundtable
  • Director of Government Relations for the National Gypsum Company
  • Commissioner, Texas National Research Laboratory Commission (appointed by then-Texas Governor Ann Richards)

Peggy is a seasoned political strategist who excels in coalition building, policy analysis, political action committee (PAC) administration and media management. She’s smart, engaging and politically savvy.

A Texan by birth, Peggy spent her formative years enjoying an international education while supporting her father’s military career. She graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, TX with a master’s degree in business administration.

Peggy will be joining AFFT Chairman and President Steve Hayes in Washington in a few weeks and has already begun to aggressively book meetings with cosponsors, cosponsor prospects and other influencers. It’s going to be a great week in Washington when Peggy comes to town. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Got Purpose?

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” – John Wesley

In my prior professional career, one of the jobs I enjoyed the most was serving the company’s executive leadership as a 360°, leadership feedback coach. 360° feedback is a human resources tool in which employees and leaders receive confidential, anonymous performance feedback from direct reports, peers and management via a competency management tool incorporating the company’s preferred management competencies and leadership behaviors.

The feedback is then shared with the employee during a two and a half to three hour confidential coaching session. Coaching preparation is intense and includes analyzing and aligning both numerical and graphical data with unvarnished, sometimes brutal, written commentary.

Occasionally, I would prepare a report that portrayed an extraordinary leader. The more I analyzed the person the more excited I became to meet them. And when I finally came face-to-face with the individual behind the numbers and graphs, it didn’t take long to understand why the executive was revered as a powerhouse leader.

Time after time, what separated the truly superb leader from the good or even great leader was passion and purpose.

Powerhouse leaders have a passion for what they do, a passion for leading people and a clearly defined sense of purpose for who they are and where they are going. These are truly remarkable people. I saw that kind of passion and purpose this week in a young man who came to my home to prepare his company’s moving estimate. In the course of gathering information he shared that he was of Cuban descent and spoke about the loss of freedom he experienced in his early years while living in his native country. I wish you could have seen the intensity of expression when he described the freedom he gained when coming to America. He then asked me what I did. I told him about the FairTax®. He immediately got it, and quickly commented on how important it is that America understands the lost freedom inherent in taxing income. He then began to tell me about a book – and he insisted I read it. He also told me about the author’s freedom project and why it had ignited in him such an extraordinary passion; so much so that he committed to donating $100 per paycheck to buy more and more books so he could give them to people that he meets through his work.

Folks, that’s the power of passion! It’s a power so strong that it drove this young man to make a huge financial commitment for an advocacy project that he uniquely understands – individual freedom. 

Imagine what could happen to the FairTax campaign if this movement experienced an explosion of passion and purpose – passion for accelerating the pace of the campaign’s progress, passion for driving a new awakening about what it means to have freedom from the tyranny of income taxation and the IRS, and passion for being a nation that has the courage to enact a tax plan that is fair and simple for all taxpayers – regardless of income, family size, marital status or political persuasion.

Have you found your FairTax purpose – your FairTax passion? As Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” Is your purpose in serving as a grassroots volunteer – maybe telling people you meet about the FairTax, sharing Facebook posts, supporting local education efforts or joining Glen Terrell’s letters to the editor team? Is your passion seeing the FairTax campaign gain new cosponsors in Congress or in recruiting new AFFT 1040 Club members? Whatever your FairTax passion, whatever your FairTax purpose, bring it on! If you don’t know, I challenge you to jump in with both feet and begin exploring different opportunities.

You may be amazed at what happens next.

County Sheriff Stands Up to the IRS

Mentioned below is an article regarding the tension in Carlsbad, New Mexico as a County Sheriff stood between a resident in his county, and the Federal Marshall Service!  Sheriff Scott London had a nationally known and respected Constitutional Lawyer spend a day teaching his department the reality of the US Constitution, especially the protection of private property rights from intrusion by an unchecked federal government and it’s agencies and departments.  KrisAnne Hall is a former State’s Attorney with many years of prosecution experience.  Between returning to school to study Constitutional Law and studying on her own, KrisAnne has become recognized nationally as a subject-matter expert.  Her books and DVDs will attest to that statement.

I have been most fortunate to have met KrisAnne on a couple of occasions, and was proud to host her for a full-morning seminar at the Arizona State Capitol this past January.  Sheriff London of Eddy County, New Mexico has participated in one of KrisAnne’s eye-popping, quick note taking, head spinning, and solid constitutional law and facts training.  The Arizona Legislators, law enforcement officers, and various elected officials from across the State of Arizona took more notes than they have since college, or so they reported.  A month later and I have about a dozen requests from law makers to “bring KrisAnne back to Arizona!”  I am quite certain Sheriff London, and his department, wants a return seminar, also.

Sheriff London decided to act on his authority and rights as the Constitutionally-elected Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Eddy County, New Mexico.  This authority gives the Sheriff absolute authority to stand against federal intervention in his county, and neither can a Board of Supervisors or County Commissioners, a State Legislature, the Governor, or even Federal Departments order the Sheriff.  The people of Eddy County, New Mexico have the authority to cause the sheriff to be turned-out of office, even recalled if the Sheriff is abusing his authority.

The 3,200 Sheriffs across America are accountable to the people! 

The Framers of our Constitution especially created this document with that provision in mind.  As a guard against runaway tyranny and heavy handed federal intrusion, our Forefathers created the Office of the Sheriff to be a watchdog for breaches of sovereignty, and a protector of people’s rights and constitutional gifts.

Sheriff London has been informed that much help is available to him and his department if he so chooses.  The Sheriff is not running for reelection, so statements that he is grandstanding are typical grandstanding in their own verbiage.  A single sheriff in an out-of-the-way county in the Southwest stood on his U.S. Constitutional authority and protected a citizen, and a citizen’s private property.  Hooray for this Sheriff of Eddy County, New Mexico!  Hooray for those sheriffs across this land who do likewise.  I am afraid they will be put to the test far more in coming months.

The Sheriff is far more than a law enforcement professional, he/she are truly our last line of defense against tyranny and runaway federal intrusion.


EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Stands Up to IRS, Cancels Land Sale

By: Priscilla Jones Feb 7, 2015

The first Republican elected sheriff in Eddy County, New Mexico, became the first sheriff in 25 years to stand up to the IRS. He physically stood at the gate of a troubled citizen’s property while US Marshals threatened his arrest. The landowner filed an appeal with the court and expects his case to receive due process before his land is publicly sold. The sheriff agrees. The judge does not.

Sheriff Scott London says he learned more about the Constitution in the year he spent campaigning for his job than in all of his years of schooling combined.

WASHINGTON, February 7, 2015—New Mexico’s Eddy County Sheriff Scott London notified the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via letter that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property is canceled until Carter receives due process of law and his appeal is heard. The certified letter dated February 4 received an immediate response from the Undersecretary of the Treasury’s office. According to the Treasury’s website, however, the public auction is still slated for February 19.

“Many officers have stood up over the years for the rights of citizens being victimized by the federal government,” said Sheriff Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, “But Sheriff London is the first one to stand up to the IRS since the early 1990s.” Mack said, “His actions show courage and humility. London is setting a good example for the rest of our sheriffs.”

Approximately ten days before Christmas, U.S. Marshals broke in the door of Carter’s rental property with their guns drawn. The tenant was a young mother with a new baby—home alone while her husband was at work. Sheriff London was called to the property to intervene. He advised the Marshals that Carter’s case was in appeal and he deserved due process. They threatened to arrest London, but he stood his ground and they backed off.

Carter has battled the IRS for decades over taxes on the earnings of his modest construction business. One court document listed his debt at $145,000, a figure Carter says an assessing agent “pulled out of thin air.” Every time he challenged them, his bill would shoot up a few hundred thousand dollars. His legal complaints state that the IRS failed to adhere to its own tax code, did not use proper accounting methods, and that the collection activity was unlawful because no notices of deficiency were given. Carter says his private and confidential information, including his social security number, was filed in public records and given to third parties. The IRS countered that it can publish and disperse the private information of Americans if it is trying to collect their money or property. A judge agreed.

Carter says the IRS is currently claiming he owes $890,000, a figure that “doubled with the stroke of a pen.”

The Taxation & Revenue Department ordered Carter to cease “engaging in business in New Mexico” until his arbitrary tax debt was paid. Carter appealed this injunction on the grounds that it was both unconstitutional and vague, as it deprived him of his right to make a living and also prohibited him from, “carrying on or causing to be carried on any activity with the purpose of direct or indirect benefit.”

“The IRS fabricates evidence against citizens by pulling numbers out of a hat and adding fees,” said Mack, “They wear people down emotionally and financially until they can’t take it anymore. No citizen should ever have to fight the IRS for decades in order to keep his land.”

“The IRS is a lie. The income tax is a lie,” said Carter. “Why should they be able to take anything? They’re worse than the mafia.”

The Carter properties have liens placed against them. A locksmith was instructed to change the locks. The IRS authorized the United States Marshal Service to arrest/evict anyone found on the premises. London, however, physically stood in front of Carter’s gate until the Marshals backed down. A public auction on the front steps of the Eddy County Courthouse is scheduled, but the local county sheriff—trained in the Constitution—resisted.

Carter voluntarily vacated his property and relocated his mobile home to an undisclosed location. “I chose to leave to keep it from escalating to something ugly—like Ruby Ridge, Idaho,” he said. Carter said he advised the Marshals and IRS Agents who publicly claimed he had armed friends on his land, “If there is going to be any violence, it is going to be you who starts it.”

Carter says 100% of his Social Security benefits is seized each month by the IRS, in addition to $2,800 the agency drained from his bank account. Legally, he says, the IRS can take no more than 15% of Social Security benefits.

Mack says banking institutions quiver when faced with the IRS’ gestapo tactics and generally hand over customers’ personal banking information, including access to accounts, without requiring a warrant or even any documentation. He encourages county sheriffs to brief every bank in their jurisdiction to refer inquiries from IRS agents to them.

Sheriff Mack is calling for the IRS to start following the law, including no “random” audits without probable cause, as they violate the Fourth Amendment. He asks them to stop committing crimes and rewarding IRS employees with bonuses for cheating on their personal taxes. “I agree with Senator Ted Cruz and others who say the IRS should be abolished,” said Mack. “It’s time they got off the backs of the American people.”

Carter says he prays daily for wisdom, and that he is surviving to be able to look into his grandchildren’s eyes and tell them he fought for their future and for America.

London is the first Republican to ever be elected sheriff in Eddy County. He distributes Bibles on behalf of Gideon International and met his wife in choir practice.

pricilla jonesAbout Priscilla Jones

Priscilla Jones is a business writer and communications strategist based in the nation’s capitals—Austin and D.C. Shedding light on incidences of abuse by overreaching government entities is her passion. Priscilla pens political humor pieces, a few of which are pure satire. When authentic investigative journalism is required, however, she delivers. Her beats are the criminal “justice” system, the security industry, and gun + private property rights. If you have a lead, please contact her. She is PatriotWriter on Twitter.

The FairTax Deserves An Up or Down Vote by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (KS)

Congress and the American people are ready to have a conversation about comprehensive tax reform, and now more than ever there is the opportunity to replace our deeply flawed tax system with a commonsense system that is simpler and more growth-oriented.

Senator Moran Discusses FairTax Legislation on U.S. Senate Floor:

Many of my colleagues suggest that tax reform should be achieved by creating a fairer, more balanced system with lower rates and a broader base – I couldn’t agree more. But, I am also convinced we must think bigger if we are to capitalize on this opportunity for economic growth and new prosperity.

Senator Jerry Moran (KS).

I am proud to join my colleague, Senator David Perdue of Georgia, in introducing the

Fair Tax Act of 2015. As a longtime proponent of the FairTax®, it is a privilege to lead this effort in Congress following the retirement of Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia from the U.S. Senate. Thanks also to the thousands of FairTax advocates, grassroots volunteers and Americans For Fair Taxation leadership for your steadfast support of this legislation.

The FairTax is a significant step in the direction of individual freedom, a fundamental concept of our nation’s founding. By eliminating the withholding of federal income taxes and social security taxes from paychecks, it would allow Americans to keep the entirety of their income and put individuals in charge of their own finances rather than the government or, more specifically, the Internal Revenue Service.

All Americans have the right to assume that the IRS, which exercises great authority over the taxpayers of this country, is operating in a neutral, fair and appropriate manner. Unfortunately, we now know that the IRS under the Obama Administration has failed in those basic tenets. To quote one of my colleagues from across the aisle, the IRS has done “permanent damage” to its reputation and legacy through the political targeting of conservative nonprofit groups. Rendered obsolete by the FairTax, the IRS would become a thing of the past.

The benefits of the FairTax are immediate and obvious. This year, Americans will likely work 100 days or longer to earn enough to pay their share of federal, state and local taxes. Americans will then spend billions of hours preparing their tax returns this spring.

A 2013 study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates that Americans spend between $300 billion and $1 trillion each year attempting to comply with the 70,000+ page tax code. There is no reason why paying taxes should be so confusing and complicated. The burden this process places on individuals and small businesses must be relieved.

But the problems with our current tax code go deeper than the complexities of paperwork, and the FairTax gets to the very root of those problems. Loaded with thousands of loopholes, exceptions, exemptions, credits, deductions, you name it – our tax code grossly manipulates the decision-making of businesses in our country.

By some estimates, U.S. companies are currently holding more than $2 trillion overseas. We can only speculate how much foreign investment continues to sit on the sidelines when it could be brought to America to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. For international businesses looking to relocate to the United States, the FairTax would be welcome news.

With the FairTax, Americans would no longer be punished for working hard to make money to support their families. All Americans, regardless of economic status, would be on equal footing and achieve greater freedom.

Overhauling the American tax system is not an easy undertaking, but the economic need for a leaner and fairer tax code has never been greater. It should be common sense: a simplified tax code will help boost the economy. With no tax on savings or investment, there will be more jobs and greater productivity.

The FairTax deserves to be heard in a committee setting, debated, and given an up or down vote. Americans know that when our economy is strong they can provide for their families, and see their children and grandchildren pursue the American Dream. The FairTax is a commonsense step toward restoring that dream.

Have They Actually Done Something?

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

In 1973, my journey into the world of political activism began when I organized a group of high school friends to work as volunteers in support of partisan candidates and ballot issues. We were young, naïve and full of energy, and were confident our contributions would change the world. More importantly, we blindly believed that all the candidates and elected officials were worthy of our trust.

This was during the time that Watergate exploded and little did we know that the rose-colored glasses we so boldly displayed were about to dull. Instead of taking the time to fully research candidates, their positions and the influencers around them, we just blindly plunged ahead giving them the most precious resource any citizen can give – our time, our energy and when we came of age, our vote.

We even sent a letter of support to the then-entrenched President, and when he wrote us back, we continued down our path of blind support.

Eight months later, the President resigned in disgrace and we learned an extremely painful, yet important lesson; all is not as it seems and many who seek the people’s trust are not deserving, nor worthy. We also learned it is vital that We the People look beyond a candidate’s and politician’s political rhetoric and apply a magnifying lens against what the person does versus what they say.

Our nation is approaching another election in ten days and I am again reminded of how important those early lessons learned are to the FairTax® campaign.

Are the candidates seeking your vote truly worthy of your trust? Are they individuals of impeccable integrity? Where do they spend the majority of their time – with paid lobbyists and consultants or with the people they [will] represent?

Does the candidate wanting your vote support the FairTax legislation?

This is an important question that demands a yes or no answer – not a maybe, sorta or kinda. And if the answer is yes, does the individual support it only in word or on a piece of paper or have they actually done something to try and advance the legislation?

It’s easy to put your name on a piece of paper and say you support something.  It is much more defining when one takes a leadership position to advance a piece of legislation. Washington is full of “go-alongs to get-alongs.” These people are simply fence sitters who take up space – talk a good game and do nothing.

The FairTax legislation demands bold and decisive leaders willing to buck status quo in order to remove the shackles of a tax system that is destroying jobs, the economy and the financial livelihood of the American people who contribute their hard-earned income. 

You have ten days until Election Day. It’s not too late to really get to know the candidates on your ballot. If you candidate is an incumbent Member of Congress, they are working in their district offices. Go visit them. If you can’t visit, call. Ask tough questions.

Bring this comparison chart and ask if they support the FairTax. If they do, ask what they have done to advance it – make them give you specifics. Visit with their staff. Ask them tough questions too. Ask them if they support the IRS.  They will say no and you must then explain to them that the only way to ensure that the IRS goes away is to pass the FairTax collected by the states.  And be sure to let them know that you support candidates who support the FairTax Plan.

Our nation is in the midst of an economic and jobs crisis—things the FairTax will create. We desperately need principled leaders willing to make tough decisions like eliminating the income tax and passing the FairTax. Your vote in support of candidates who support the FairTax is a major step forward to making the FairTax the law of the land.

As former Secretary Bill Simon said, “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.” Whatever you do, please vote. And make sure that any candidate lucky enough to get your vote is worthy of your trust. Finally, as President John Quincy Adams said, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

Two Blockbuster IRS Annoucements

Yesterday, in a blockbuster announcement, Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in a sworn lawsuit declaration that former IRS senior manager Lois Lerner’s now infamous BlackBerry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”

The magnitude of lies, deceit and corruption is incredible isn’t it? But that’s how it is when an out-of-control bureaucracy does the political bidding of Congress.

Thankfully, the FairTax® will eliminate the IRS and replace the income tax code with a simple and fair national sales tax. For the first time in 200 years, the American people will have independence from oppressive income taxation.

Much like when Gandhi sought independence for India and Pakistan and when asked about his non-violent protest in support of that goal he said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

For years, Washington’s elites have ignored, laughed and even fought the FairTax Plan. But as the IRS targeting investigation has unfolded, the laughing has all but stopped and the FairTax is being talked about more and more as a viable alternative to the current tax code.

More importantly, “experts” are openly discussing it as the only tax reform plan that can eliminate a completely corrupt and out-of-control IRS. 

Meanwhile, during this election year, most members of Congress continue to operate with their usual level of arrogance; acting like they own their elected office. Yet, make no mistake; they secretly fear being ousted in any primary election when their electorate finally gets smart. Just ask former Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The ouster numbers, however, are not currently in favor of We the People.

As the Washington Post stated in June, “Overall, voter turnout among the 25 states that have held primaries is down 18 percent from the 2010 election, according a study by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. There were almost 123 million age-eligible voters in these primary states, but only about 18 million of them voted.” With an average of 15% of the eligible voters turning out in primary elections, an average of 40,000 voters decided the primary election.

A new initiative in the FairTax campaign aims to change that dynamic. 

We know that Members are most influenced by groups that have large numbers of paying members in their districts. Imagine the influence on just one Congressional district if AFFT had 3,000 paying members who could influence 1, 5, or 10 voters. Now we have their attention!

As a 501(c)(4), AFFT cannot directly participate in political campaigns, but we can let our supporters know if a candidate supports the FairTax Plan. And, those supporters can take that knowledge to the election booth.

Today, AFFT is announcing a new AFFT membership drive designed to increase our sphere of influence in Washington and accelerate passage of the FairTax. 

Each of you is being asked to become a paying member of AFFT. Annual membership plans begin at $5.00 and best of all, your membership payment will be divided equally between AFFT and your state FairTax organization!

Your membership will help fund greater efforts at both the local and national levels. And, in exchange for your paid membership, you will receive a credit in the FairTax.org store equal to 10% of your paid membership.

And here’s how you can multiply your membership impact and AFFT’s ability to make Congress listen. Think of 5 or 10 family members, employees or friends and sponsor them for AFFT membership! Please make sure you let these individuals know in advance that you would like to sponsor their membership so they do not hit “unsubscribe” or “spam” when we begin providing them with information on the FairTax Plan.

You will get store credit, your state will still receive their share of your membership and you will have magnified your impact!

Napoleon Hill said, “You must get involved to have an impact.”

Don’t delay – go to FairTax.org and click on “Become a Member” today.

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