Over the last decade, radio talk host and WND staff writer Geoff Metcalf has interviewed many people regarding the income tax, the 16th Amendment and the IRS. Bill Benson, for instance, has researched the ratification process, state by state, and has made an impressive case — with over 17,000 pages of official notarized documents — that the 16th Amendment was never legally ratified. Larry Becraft, chief counsel of The Wallace Institute, that organization’s co-founder, Devvy Kidd, and former IRS Agent Joe Banister have also been guests on Metcalf’s radio talk programs and subsequent print interviews.
Today, Metcalf interviews Bob Schulz, chairman of the organization “We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education” about his high-profile challenges to the Internal Revenue Service and the income tax. Schulz is one of the men at the very epicenter of the 16th-Amendment ratification issue and his organization has sponsored a series of high-profile 16th-Amendment events in Washington, D.C. Schulz is also the force behind a series of four recent full-page ads in “USA Today” promoting the group’s views of income taxes and the 16th Amendment.
Editor’s note: The April edition of WorldNet magazine, WND’s monthly print magazine, will be devoted entirely to the issue of the 16th Amendment, the IRS and income taxes. Readers may subscribe to WorldNet at WND’s online store.
Metcalf’s daily streaming radio show can be heard on TalkNetDaily weekdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.
Question: Before we get into your upcoming event please explain what happened a couple of years ago at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.?
Answer: Well, you mentioned Joe Banister. I learned in February of 1999 that an IRS Agent working out of the San Jose office in California had resigned after determining that he could no longer enforce the Internal Revenue Code as though payment were compulsory when he had determined it was voluntary. I called Joe at home and we spoke. He told me about his research report that he had put on the web. I read that 95-page report. It was a good solid report.
Q: I almost choked the first time I read it. The image of my name on the first page was a surprise.
A: After 87 years of an income tax — after being led to believe … educated that you have to pay your taxes …
A: … and that it’s legal — that you have to pay your taxes. I mean who questioned it? All my life — I’m now 61 years old, but in 1999 I talked with Joe and read his work. He led me to Bill Benson. I read Bill’s work and became familiar with it. Read Bill Conklin’s work. Spoke with Larry Becraft, and so forth.
Q: If you talked with Larry Becraft you listened more than you talked.
A: Yeah — and he is so prolific. He’s got a wonderful website as well. But anyway, we found ourselves in a tough spot. Here was this very substantial body of work. I have an engineering degree. I have a Masters in Business and Finance. I completed most of the course work for a P.h.D in Public Administration. I’ve had significant positions in government, on Wall Street, in industry.
Q: Joe Banister was a CPA with a Big Six accounting firm before he went to work for the IRS.
A: Sure. These were not people sitting alongside the railroad tracks without two nickels to rub together. These were educated people.
Q: These are not guys in camouflage dragging their knuckles on the ground?
A: Exactly. They were middle class, well-educated people with a lot at stake — and lots to lose. So we were in a tough spot. What do you do? I just couldn’t let it drop.
Q: So what did you do?
A: We decided the thing to do was to schedule an academic symposium and invite — fly in at our expense — all these people. Get Joe Banister, Bill Benson, Bill Conklin, Larry Becraft and Devvy Kidd — get them all to the National Press Club and invite the government to identify their most knowledgeable people — their experts — and get them to participate.
Q: Throw rocks at these people. Discredit them!
A: Sure. Give the government an opportunity to show these people the error of their ways, embarrass them and put this issue to bed once and for all.
Q: Bob, I’ve been saying that for ten years.
A: So we sent copies of Bill Benson’s two-volume work. I mean the thing must weigh 10 pounds. And Joe’s 95-page report and Bill Conklin’s report. We sent copies and included a letter attached to the IRS Commissioner, to the president, to Speaker Hastert and to Senate Majority Leader Lott. Very respectfully. We said: Look, here’s the evidence. Here are copies of these research reports.
Q: Please come and refute it!
A: And we need to get to the truth. Obviously a number of people have become familiar with the facts contained in these reports and now believe that absent of proper Constitutional amendment, Congress is prohibited by the Constitution from requiring individual citizens of the 50 states to file and pay an income tax — or a social security tax. In other words, they are prohibited from imposing a direct tax on the people without state-by-state apportionment. That citizens are in fact not now required to file and pay, we said. Yet a growing number are losing their homes, going to prison and otherwise being subjected to financial penalties and emotional stress for either falling behind in their payments or legitimately deciding that they do not have to pay. So we said to these men, obviously the current situation cannot be allowed to continue. We need to get to the truth of the matter.
Q: You were seeking facts not in evidence. Because from their perspective certainly the current situation can and should continue.
A: We wrote to them on May 5th — a full two months before the event which was scheduled for July 1st and 2nd at the National Press Club — and we never even received an acknowledgement of a receipt of the invitation. No word at all. Not even, “Thank you for your invitation.” So we went ahead with the symposium.
Q: And C-SPAN covered it!
A: C-SPAN covered it live and re-broadcast it four or five times in the succeeding days, which was wonderful. At the end of that conference there was a question from the audience, on national television — on C-SPAN — “What now?” What does a free people do when they are up against a government that is obviously or apparently …
Q: … abusing power under the color of authority.
A: Exactly. Stepping outside the boundaries the people have drawn around its power, taking possession of, in Jefferson’s words, “a boundless field of power no longer capable of definition” and they will not justify their position. What does a free people do?
Q: So what did you do?
A: We decided we would return to the National Press Club in November and discuss it and debate it further. And we did. People from 16 states returned to Washington and gathered at the National Press Club on November 13, 1999. Joe was back, Bill was back, Larry was back — they all were back.
Q: And I’m sure C-SPAN was anxious to cover it again given you were such a big ratings boost for them last time.
A: We expected they would be there again, but they didn’t show. We suspect that …
Q: They got the memo!
A: Yeah — they got the telephone call or the memo. If you visit the offices of the Senate or House buildings in D.C., you’ll see all the offices have at least one — often two or three — television sets and they are all tuned to C-SPAN. Can you imagine on July 2nd when C-SPAN was broadcasting the conference live and Bill Benson is saying, “Come get me! I haven’t paid income tax since 1986!” Joe Banister is giving his report, and everyone is giving his or her report, and we’re reporting that the federal government evaded the event or just chose not to attend. Obviously jaws must have dropped over there in all those offices. And we suspect that telephone calls were made. So the next event in November, C-SPAN was expected, but was a no-show. We suspect someone must have reached out to them. In any event, we had a very good session and put the finishing touches to a remonstrance.
Q: Explain what a ‘remonstrance’ is?
A: Well, a remonstrance is a word used more frequently in the early days of the country. It’s a strong statement of grievances that the people submit to their government. So people from 16 states put the finishing touches to a remonstrance.
Q: OK, so you came up with this official and formal gripe sheet. What did you do with it?
A: It was a two-page statement about the fraudulent nature of the income-tax system and we decided we would deliver the remonstrance to the leaders of all three branches of government — not just the legislative and executive branches, but the judicial branch as well, because of the role the courts have played in this apparent hoax for so many years. And we decided we would deliver it on April 13th. And we expressed the hope that a delegation of people representing all 50 states would be able to gather at the National Press Club and walk over to the White House and deliver the remonstrance and then walk over to the capitol and so forth.
Q: How did you make this formal list of grievances available for people to sign?
A: We put it on the website so that people could read it and sign it electronically if they so chose. By April 13th, we had thousands and thousands of people who had signed, electronically, the remonstrance.
A: And sure enough, we had a delegation representing all 50 states gather on April 13th at the National Press Club.
Q: That’s a pretty significant accomplishment. You’d think that maybe NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN or C-SPAN just might show up for something like that?
A: Well, we did properly inform the media. There’s a wire service — called U.S. Wire Service — and you hire them and they send the release out to some 376 media outlets, most of them located right there in the National Press building.
Q: So none of the 376 media outlets chose to report what you guys were doing?
A: So Joe Banister and I walked over to the White House. We had an appointment inside the White House with a videographer. We were allowed to bring our videographer into the meeting. While the entire delegation waited outside the White House, Joe Banister and I went in and met with President Clinton’s economic adviser, a fellow named Jason Furman. On tape, he accepted the remonstrance for the president and he promised that he would have the National Economic Counsel (which is a major White House Department) review the evidence. And, he went further.
Q: This should be good.
A: He was the executive director of the National Economic Counsel. He said he would have White House lawyers and historians review it. And we said we would like to return to Washington in June and again we requested that the government identify their experts and have them participate in a public forum to address these allegations of fraud — the fraudulent adoption of the 16th Amendment — and the illegal operation of the income-tax system.
Q: So how did he blow you off?
A: Well, on tape, he expressed agreement to meet in June at the upcoming conference. We were delighted.
Q: He stroked you real good!
A: Yeah. Well said.
Q: You must have had smoke coming out of your shorts?
A: Well, the door closed behind us, Geoff, and I remember Joe saying, “Bob, I think we hit a home run.” And I said, “We’ll see.”
Q: It was actually more like a tip foul?
A: We thought it couldn’t have gone better. We went outside and briefed the whole delegation and they were thrilled. We walked up to the Capitol where we met, by agreement, with Dennis Hastert’s policy director, a guy named Dr. William Ketzell — on tape — same results. He accepted the remonstrance for the speaker, promised to have not only the policy group there at the Capitol review it but also tax experts from House Ways and Means would review the evidence.
Q: Did any of these guys making promises to you say “within two weeks, within a month, within a year, within a decade?”
A: No, but they all expressed agreement to participate. See, this was April 13th when we met with them — they expressed agreement to meet with us, to identify their people and have their experts meet in this public forum in June at the upcoming June conference. So Joe and I were thrilled.
Q: Then what?
A: We walked around to the Senate side of the Capitol and met with Keith Hennessey — in Lott’s office — in his inner office with a videographer present. Keith accepted the remonstrance for the majority leader and promised to have the Senate Finance Committee and their experts review it.
Q: The check’s in the mail and I always wore cowboy boots!
A: Yeah right. So we were thrilled. And the word went around the tax honesty movement in America that this was going to happen. People were amazed! Finally, the government was going to address these allegations of the fraud and the illegal operation of the income tax.
Q: No, no, no, no — they said they were going to.
A: So we began to prepare for the June 29th conference and, on June 2nd, I called the White House and spoke to Jason Furman and this is a quote: “Mr. Schulz, the legality of the income tax is not a high-priority matter for the White House and we will not be participating in any conference on the subject.” So, in other words, if it’s illegal, it’s OK. That’s what he said!
Q: Not a high-priority matter? They were probably more focused on trying to define the word “is.” That’s a higher priority.
A: We were stunned. We were really disappointed, but decided to go on with the June conference anyway.
Q: Wait a minute. So you got blown off by the White House. What happened when you talked to Hastert’s and Lott’s guys?
A: Then I called Ketzell — now this was June 2nd — and it was pretty clear to me that they had all been talking to one another and this was going to be their approach.
Q: OK, so you called Ketzell and told him the White House blew you off, what are you going to do?
A: Ketzell said, “Gee Bob, I’m sorry. We haven’t done anything with your request yet. It’s still here in my in-box.” And Hennessey would not answer his phone. So we went ahead with the conference anyway on June 29th. We had Ed Vierra.
Q: Smart guy.
A: Oh yeah. Great author, understands the nation’s money system and the Federal Reserve — very smart. It was a powerful conference, but at the end of the conference we decided: All right, enough of this evasion by the federal government. At some point evasion becomes admission and I guess we reached that point. Most Americans don’t have a clue about these issues. Now it was necessary to bring this information before the attention of the general public.
Q: In April, WorldNetDaily.com will be publishing in our monthly print magazine WorldNet a special edition focusing exactly on this very issue. Ambassador Alan Keyes is writing something for it, Rep. Ron Paul — I’ve written something — Joseph Farah, David Kupelian, Julie Foster did the heavy lifting. We’re covering everything from Bill Benson, Joe Banister, Devvy Kidd, Bill Conklin, et al, explaining the apportionment issue — explaining the 5th Amendment issue — so it will all be there.
A: You know, Geoff, the apportionment thing you mention is so important. We’ve now run four full-page ads in USA Today. We find that most people have this noise barrier. They can’t focus on what you’re saying because they say, “My gosh! If you don’t have the income tax, who’s going to fix the bridges? Who’s going to defend the country and so forth?”
Q: Bob, you have had all these meetings at the National Press Club, you submitted your remonstrance and run these expensive newspaper ads — now we come up to the next stage.
A: We’ve run those full-page ads in USA Today to bring the information before the American public.
Q: Not cheap?
A: No. $62,730 per issue, per ad. We’ve now run four of them. People should understand that many hands make light work. It is so important to get this information out there. Most Americans don’t have a clue. You have to get before the TV screen. You have to get in the dominant media as well as the alternative media.
Q: I about spilled my coffee when I saw you on Fox with Brit Hume.
A: But you’ve got to get on the dominant media if you’re going to put this out before most Americans, because that’s where most Americans are at the moment.
Q: It’s a tad difficult when the dominant mainstream is complicit with the government in suppressing this information.
A: Precisely. If you look at their news reports, they’re calling the employers who have stopped withholding “tax cheats.” So you have to buy the space and it is expensive. So we ask people to go to our website and become informed and, if they agree with our position, to please send donations to the foundation because the ads are expensive. We have them written. They are ready to go and they are powerful. Each one is hard-hitting and aggressive — but they are expensive.
Q: The web page is http://www.givemeliberty.org. Now that the ads are coming out in USA Today, what kind of reaction are you getting? I first talked to Bill Benson about 10 years ago. I’ve had Devvy Kidd on the air for about nine years as a semi-regular guest. But it’s always been perceived as kind of, “Well, that’s an interesting academic argument, but you know it’s just radical right-wing stuff and what does it have to do with me?” Now, even though you have to buy your way into the mainstream, what kind of response is it creating? And are the people in control starting to actually feel any of the heat?
A: Obviously they are. We find for instance that there is a memo that we have — that is an internal IRS memo — announcing that they are putting special teams in each of the districts to ‘counter’ the USA Today ads.
Q: How do they counter the facts? That has to be the awkward thing.
A: Yeah. They don’t explain. But they are going to ‘counter.’ What does that mean? They’re going to come down with a heavy hand and a steel fist? I don’t know.
Q: Bill Benson has been inviting the government for over a decade to drag his butt into court and they ignore him.
A: Sure — because he has the facts — he has the proper legal arguments. I guess what it means is they will step up their activity and prey on people who are vulnerable — people who ‘hear’ the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified or ‘hear’ that there is no law that requires them file or pay or that requires the employer to withhold — they really don’t understand all of the facts.
Q: But some of these people who do understand all the facts, who are willfully failing to file and have the resources to take it to court — is the government going to go after those folks?
A: I don’t know. Dave Bossit did receive a notice from the IRS asking him to appear in their offices. “60 Minutes 2” has been working on a piece that they are going to air on April 10th.
Q: I told Joe Banister to stay away from them like the plague, but yeah …
A: In any event, the producer of “60 Minutes 2” said to Bossit, “We’d like to film that meeting.” Bossit said, “Great! I’d like to have you there.” He notified the IRS that CBS would be there. The IRS backed off. They cancelled the meeting. They turned it over to their information officer at the Jacksonville office and he said, “No way!” So they backed off. What will happen, I don’t know.
Q: But what about the reaction to the USA Today ads?
A: Clearly they are having an effect. A recent edition of “Forbes Magazine” has on the cover, “How to Cheat on Your Taxes.” The article talks about the employers as “tax cheats.” That’s the party line — the dominant media party line. They talk about the employers as “tax cheats” — that their arguments are “frivolous” and “bizarre” … it’s all been settled by the courts. All these generalities — all the rhetoric — but no specifics.
Q: It’s also a big lie. Nothing has been settled yet. The courts say it’s a political question. The politicians say it’s a question for the courts. Which is really the reason for the Bill Benson-Wallace Institute lawsuit in Oklahoma.
A: Precisely. The issue of the fraudulent adoption of the 16th Amendment has never been litigated. The courts say the question of the fraud is a “political” question. Since when is fraud a political question? The courts should have addressed it, but they didn’t. They passed it off to Congress and Congress lateralled it back to the courts. So we’ve got this governmental ping-pong going on while we have legitimate questions about the validity and the constitutionality of the income tax.
Q: On April 9th, what is it you guys are going to do?
A: Well, we’re to encircle the IRS headquarters building. This is our intent. This “Walkaround,” we call it, comes as a result of the agency’s continued evasion of the allegations of fraud and the illegal operation of the income-tax system.
Q: They hope to ignore it and it will go away and you’re saying, “It ain’t going to go away.”
A: Right. People from all over the country, and your readers are invited, to please take the day, give the country a day. Give your country a day — make the sacrifice and be in Washington for the IRS “Walkaround.”
Q: You’ll need 1,400 people to circle the building?
A: Right. This is the vision: 1,400 people, walking two abreast, with a yard between pairs. That’s what it will take to completely encircle the IRS headquarters complex. There is more than one building involved. We’d like to get at least 1,040 participants, but we need 1,400 with a yard between pairs. Each participant wearing a navy blue windbreaker with words in gold in big block letters on the back: “Tyranny Response Team.” It is tyranny when the government takes a step outside the boundary that we have drawn around its power and “takes possession of this boundless field of power” — doing whatever they want to do, feeling they are not limited by the written Constitution. That’s tyranny. It is our duty, it’s our responsibility and it’s our heritage to respond to tyranny whenever and wherever we find it.
Q: The three branches of government were comfortable in ignoring your remonstrance. The mainstream media hasn’t done anything to cover any of this stuff — notwithstanding the compelling evidence presented and the cast of characters. I mean, Joe Banister is a poster child. You couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson.
A: Geoff, something is changing. All the dominant media — all of them — are now mentioning on TV and in the print media … they are all mentioning the USA Today ads. They are all mentioning this tax-honesty movement. They are saying, “Something has changed.”
We have a lot of people here who are middle-class, well-educated, with a lot to lose taking the position that filing of the income tax and withholding of the income tax from employees’ paychecks is not legally required. The movement is clearly growing and they (mainstream media) are recognizing it.
While we continue to step up the pressure in terms of the public information and education campaign in USA Today and other dominant media, we need to show that we continue to be interested in having the government sit down with these tax researchers and debate and discuss the issues in a public forum. Then the people can listen to both sides and make up their minds as to where the truth is. We have now invited IRS Commissioner Rosotti to — at 11:30 a.m., April 9th — meet with those who are walking around his headquarters and circling his building, to meet and comment on some of the allegations which have been presented to him by Banister, by Benson, by Conklin and by our organization during the last two years and to explain the agency’s position or to attend the “Walkaround” long enough to at least tell the group assembled when the experts at the IRS would be available to meet with tax researchers in a public forum to explain where they are in error.
Q: Everett Dirkson once said — and I’ve seen a lot of evidence of this axiom — “They really don’t see the light .. until they feel the heat.” Hopefully you folks can continue to ratchet up the thermostat a little bit so that eventually they will be compelled to respond in someway. What do you expect will happen at your April “IRS Walkaround”?
A: Hopefully we will get publicity on the issues. Through that publicity, we will be educating scores of millions of citizens about the fraudulent nature of the income tax system and the recalcitrance …
Q: Hold on … you seem to finally be making some inroads … at least with Fox News. Have Hannity and Colmes suggested bringing you and Rosotti on the air to debate this stuff?
A: Recently, the NBC affiliate in Baltimore, Kwesi Mfumi, the head of the NAACP — he was a congressman — he hosts a show that is taped every Tuesday night before a live studio audience and then aired on Saturday night. He flew myself and Sherry Jackson, an ex-IRS agent who resigned like Banister, and John Turner and others … he flew her up from Atlanta and they had a leading tax attorney from Baltimore on the show as well. He started the show by saying that Commissioner Rosotti was expected and at the last minute, in his words, “wimped out.”
Q: This is a former U.S. congressman and current head of the NAACP?
A: Right. And saying on his TV show that Rosotti was invited, and had said he would be there, but at the last minute, according to the former congressman, he had “wimped out.”
Q: I’ve had similar episodes with executives from the Fed agreeing to appear and bailing at the last minute.
A: Well, you see, it’s another evasion. Another example of the continuous pattern of evasion.
Q: As Ronald Reagan once said, they can run but they can’t hide.
A: Our position is this: We are justified given their failure to show at our four conferences — their failure to answer Joe Banister when he submitted his report asking for answers, their failure to respond to Benson — we are certainly justified in running these ads and justified in walking around and putting that kind of pressure on the IRS by walking around their headquarters building on April 9th. If they continue to evade, then clearly the American people are justified in taking the position that every individual living in America can ignore the requirements of the Internal Revenue code with all of its regulations, because it is constitutionally invalid.
The April edition of WorldNet magazine is devoted exclusively to an in-depth, balanced, critical analysis of the claims made here, and many more, by those challenging the IRS, the 16th Amendment and the income tax. Readers may subscribe to WorldNet at WND’s online store.