Ron Strom is commentary editor of WND, a post he took after serving as a news editor since 2000. Prior to coming on board with WND, Strom worked in politics in California. Married and the father of two homeschool graduates, he has served in leadership positions in his church, local nonprofit boards and in county government.More ↓Less ↑
Rose Lear, who hasn’t eaten in over two weeks, is taking her cause to Capitol Hill tomorrow, hoping to get her congressional representatives to meet with her and address her questions about the legality of the federal income tax.
“Hopefully, they will see me,” Lear told WorldNetDaily from her home in Muskegon, Mich.
The 52-year-old woman began her hunger strike on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and says she will begin eating again only if representatives of the federal government agree to address various contentions made by the “tax honesty movement,” including that the 16th Amendment authorizing income tax was not properly ratified and that the federal IRS code does not require that Americans pay income tax.
Referring to her possible death from starvation, Lear said, “I will go away, but not quietly.”
A Catholic, Lear eats only Holy Communion each week.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Lear’s action is reminiscent of the hunger strike by Bob Schulz of We the People. Schulz ended a 20-day hunger strike in 2001 after IRS and Justice Department officials agreed to meet with him to answer his questions. Government officials later reneged, and We the People held its own congressional-hearing style forum in Washington, D.C. At the event, several expert tax attorneys and former IRS officials “testified” that the income tax was illegal, improperly levied and burdensome to Americans.
It was the record of that forum that started Lear’s involvement with We the People. After hearing that the organization had delivered the written and video record of the tax hearings to every member of Congress, she called her congressman, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., asking if he had received it. When his office staff claimed he did not, Lear contacted We the People for the “proof of service” document. She then faxed it to Hoekstra’s office, and staff there confirmed that they had received the information.
Since then, however, Lear says the congressman “does not speak to me.”
Last month, We the People began helping Lear and her husband, William Wallace Lear, who had been convicted of willfully failing to file an income-tax return. The Lears had no money for an attorney during William’s trial, and the court-appointed attorney refused to represent William’s position, Mrs. Lear said. Mr. Lear then was forced to act as his own attorney while the taxpayer-funded lawyer sat in the back of the courtroom by order of the judge.
That same court-appointed attorney, Schulz says, warned Mrs. Lear after her husband’s conviction not to file an appeal.
Schulz told WND he is helping Mrs. Lear set up appointments with her representatives for tomorrow morning. He spoke to Hoekstra’s chief of staff, John Van Fossen, who had not confirmed a meeting by press time. Lear also hopes to meet with Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats.
Tomorrow afternoon, Lear is scheduled to hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Lear feels her husband was the victim of a corrupt court system.
“There is no fair trial in our country,” she said. “Due-process rights are out the window.”
Lear explained that, during the trial, her husband asked four government witnesses, all IRS agents who were under oath, what law compelled him to pay income taxes and that none could answer the questions.
“He’s a political prisoner,” Lear said, referring to her husband, who last week began serving a one-year prison term in Duluth, Minn.
Schulz emphasized that he knew nothing of the Lears until he read about the planned hunger strike late last month.
“I tried to talk her out of it,” Schulz said.
We the People then assisted the Lears in filing an extension of the time period during which William could file an appeal of his conviction, as well as a Habeas Corpus motion, which claims that Lear has been illegally incarcerated.
According to Schulz, Mrs. Lear will have a videographer with her when she visits her congressman and senators to record the meetings – that is, if he can get the meetings scheduled.
Lear began the hunger strike at 100 pounds and is now down to 95. Referring to the questions on the legality of the income tax that each member of Congress received, Lear stated what it would take to get her to start eating again: “We want answers to those questions.”