It was a busy day! Links to some of the articles
mentioned here are on the NWTRCC website, along with some of
the national coverage-click on "latest news." There will be
more photos and stories in the next newsletter.
"The Tao of Tax Avoiding: Local Peace Activists Share Expertise
on the IRS," was a featured article in Albuquerque's free paper
alibi at the end of March. It appeared just in time to
announce the local war tax resisters' workshop held at the Albuquerque
Peace and Justice Center, which 20 people attended. Afterward
a friend reported several conversations with young people who
were inspired to do something about their income taxes because
of the article.
In addition, this year the Albuquerque War Tax Resistance
Alternative Fund chose to "clean house" and closed old accounts
of people not heard from in years. The Fund has a rule that
escrow accounts without activity for six years become monies
to be donated to life-affirming organizations, which hadn't
been done in a long time. Besides a donation to NWTRCC we gave
$200 to the local Bread Not Bombs group, $1,300 to the Public
School Title I Homeless Project, and $1,300 to a new Men's Shelter
that will offer job training, counseling, etc. Poco a poco.
- -Nancy Rice
LEPOCO (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern) reports that about
20 people leafleted at various post offices in the area. In the
Palmer Township section, two seasoned activists, Susie Ravitz
and Reggie Regrut, were arrested when the postmaster called the
police. They were charged with defiant trespass, pled not guilty,
and have a June 1 court date. They have an attorney, and the ACLU
has also been notified. LEPOCO activists have been leafleting
in and around area post offices for at least 20 years; Susie in
fact leafleted at the Palmer Township post office last year with
no such consequences. The activists expect to be cleared in court
because they can cite a postal regulation that allows leafleting
outside their buildings, as long as people do not go into the
lobby or obstruct foot or other traffic.
Austin Conscientious Objectors to Military Taxation (ACOMT) experimented
this year with a local campaign promoting $10.40 symbolic war
tax resistance. We passed out fliers about it at local peace events
and talked to our friends and colleagues, hoping to encourage
others to join us. Though only a few did, we pooled our resisted
tax money and redirected about $2,800 to two organizations: the
American Friends Service Committee's emergency material aid campaign
for Iraq, and a local counter-recruitment group called Nonmilitary
Options for Youth. We held two press conferences to publicly donate
the money and were covered by the local NPR-affiliate radio news.
We distributed WRL fliers at the central post office on Tax Day,
holding signs and enlarged photographs taken in Iraq and Afghanistan
by photojournalist, Alan Pogue.
- -Susan Van Haitsma
On April 15, 2004, members of the Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
protested the use of taxpayer money for the military/industrial
war machine at the main post office on Fayette Street. Starting
at 10 pm, we held mailboxes marked with the names of Halliburton,
Martin Marietta and Bechtel (and their corresponding war profit
numbers) and urged passing, procrastinating motorists to deposit
their checks in the mailbox of their choice, since their tax money
was going directly to those companies anyway. George W. Bush was
there to meet and greet the taxpaying citizens of Baltimore (a
little street theater and a mask), and he assured them their money
would be well spent for all manner of neo-con pet projects and
lining the pockets of his campaign contributors. He also assured
Baltimore taxpayers they could rest assured their tax money would
finance four more wars if he has another four years.
- -Maria Allwine
In its April 12 edition, the Brattleboro Reformer ran a nice story
about Rev. Thaddeus Bennett, "a law-abiding citizen, a believer
in the American system and a good Christian"-and a war tax resister.
He has been resisting the military portion of federal taxes since
1982. Bennett is the pastor of St. Mary 's Episcopal Church in
Wilmington, and the article goes on to say:
Over the last 22 years, there have been moments of doubt about
his decision. Bennett said he sometimes wonders if the struggle
with the IRS is worth it, especially since they always find a
way to extract the money from him. But every year he renews his
Do I think I am going to change the world? No. Might all of
us who are war tax resisters change the world? Yes," said Bennett.
In addition, on April 16 the Reformer ran a story about the
Windham County Tax Resisters of Conscience tax day protest at
the Brattleboro post office, which included quotes from many
of the three dozen resisters who were out leafleting. Among
them was Ellen Kaye who reported the group's redirection of
$3,332 to four area human services agencies: the Women's Crisis
Center, Nuclear Free Vermont, Morningside Shelter, and Pathways
The Chicago Area War Tax Resisters Support Group put together
a five-category penny poll: Health, Education, Housing, Environment,
Military. Passersby made their highest spending priority Education
and the lowest Military, and organizers felt that people were
empowered by making their own decisions. Leafletters handed out
the WRL pie chart and postcards with pictures of Iraqi children
on one side and contact information for Voices in the Wilderness,
NWTRCC, and the War Resisters League on the other side. The hearty
band of activists included three children, ages 4 through 6, who
were especially successful at handing out the postcards.
Three war tax resisters were arrested and charged with disorderly
conduct at Milwaukee's Federal Building on tax day. The members
of Milwaukee War Tax Resistance entered the Federal Building after
an hour of protesting outside with about ten others. They were
followed by members of the Milwaukee Police Department, Wakenhut
Security, Federal Plaza security, as well as an agent with Homeland
Security as they presented Senator Herb Kohl's office with letters
about war taxes and how they could be used to alleviate suffering
if redirected. The resisters were immediately arrested after they
presented letters to the IRS and began singing. Ryan O'Rourke,
Lincoln Rice, and Mikel Komba, all volunteers with Casa Maria
Catholic Worker, pled not guilty and are awaiting a trial date.
The protest was covered by CBS 58 and Indymedia Milwaukee.
St. Louis war tax resister Bill Ramsey was the featured presenter
at a WTR workshop in Nashville organized by Karl Meyer. Bill gave
a beautiful workshop, says Karl, but there was a low turnout.
Karl interpreted this as "a problem of avoidance within the contemporary
peace movement of the challenge of resistance, or the challenge
of nonpayment of taxes. Response was similar before 1968-69, at
which time the Fifth Av enue Committee adopted the theme, 'From
Protest to Resistance.' The draft resistance movement also galvanized
WTR. This is a sociologically different time, and subsequent generations
have different challenges, and don't have to deal with certain
matters if they don't want to." Bill Ramsey reports that the beautiful
spring day may have tempted many to the outdoors instead.
Demanding "We Will Not Fund War and Occupation," Northern California
War Tax Resistance joined with Direct Action to Stop the War,
SUSTAIN, and others for a press conference and creative nonviolent
protest at the Federal Building in Oakland. The Oakland Tribune
featured a story on the action April 16, which many readers received
in NWTRCC's May mailing. Julia Butterfly Hill was a featured speaker,
and the event attracted over 200 people.
The press conference ended with a plea for war taxes from
some guerrilla IRS agents. When they handed out "bloodied" 1040
forms, the recipients shouted out an objection and "died" until
the plaza was strewn with bodies. One participant spontaneously
shouted out an Emma Goldman speech in competition with the IRS
pitch, adding to the drama. Meanwhile, the "die in" in the lobby
went forward as a civil disobedience action, and eventually
everyone outside went over to the windows to support them. Sixteen
people were arrested, and charges are still pending.
After a lot of chanting and some speeches, the People's Life
fund gave out four grants of $400 each to groups working with
the homeless, AIDS patients, Biodiesel and prisoners' families.
Each group spoke eloquently about their mission. At that point
we invited the crowd to join in a symbolic redirection, led
by a couple of children, who stuck "hundred dollar bills" up
on a large banner that asked "How do you want your taxes spent?"
It featured a backdrop of the Bush administration's spending
in two categories-Military and Human Needs-and not too surprisingly
our participants had very different spending priorities than
- -Susan Quinlan
Park Falls, WI
For the past 30 years we have been resisting paying federal taxes.
For the first 27 years we did it as members of the Casa Maria
Catholic Worker Community in Milwaukee. For the past three years
we have been doing it here in Park Falls, Wisconsin, where we
now live, and every Tuesday for over a year now we have been holding
our signs on two major highways in Park Falls protesting the invasion
of Iraq and military spending. We were out on tax day with signs
that read: "Fund human need, not Pentagon greed," "If you pay
for war you will get war," "Thou shalt not kill...even for 'freedom,'
oil or profit," "Nonviolence brings peace," etc.
After we had been holding our vigils for a couple of weeks,
some people put up their own huge wooden signs on the same corner
stating their support for the invasion. Recently a woman in
an SUV drove up and took one of our signs and tried to tear
it up. When she could not, she threw the sign into the street.
All the time she was shouting obscenities at us. When we pointed
out that the wooden signs were on government property, she became
even more upset, shouted even more obscenities and finally moved
the wooden signs onto private property. (We had pointed out
to the local law officers that the wooden signs were on government
property, but they did nothing about it. If we had our signs
on government property, we know for sure we would have been
fined or had our signs confiscated.)
As long as the U.S. spends taxes for war, weapons, and other
wasteful purposes we cannot in conscience pay anything to the
government. Until taxes are being used to help people with their
basic needs we will be out there on tax day protesting the wasteful
and harmful ways the government is spending people's money.
- -Don Timmerman & Roberta Thurstin
Singing "I can't pay for war no more, no, I can't pay for war
no more," a "cancan" chorus line of barrel-wearing protesters
from the Oregon Community for War Tax Resistance gathered on tax
day at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. Despite
the cool weather, many appeared to be wearing only a handmade,
cardboard barrel with a pasted on message that "Military spending
has stripped us of our resources for schools" or healthcare or
one of dozens of other spending options. The resisters also redirected
tax dollars to Janitors for Justice, Pastors for Peace, Stop the
Wall Campaign, Voices in the Wilderness, and Veterans for Peace,
and their rally included speakers from each group. Local videographer
Steev Hise has documented the event, and his tape includes an
interview with longtime resister John Schwiebert, who, with his
wife, redirected their 2003 taxes to the county government this
year. Steev is hoping to use footage from such events and interviews
with resisters to create a new video for wtr outreach. (To find
out about getting a copy of the tape email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Also in Portland, Tom Hastings reported showing the Peace
Tax Fund Campaign's "Compelled by Conscience" video in his two
classes at Portland State University and Portland Community
College and handing out pie charts. Tom says: "I found both
greatly connected to my conflict resolution, political science
and sociology curricula. Students were almost all surprised
by all the information-never heard of this, never thought of
either resistance or conscientious objection to federal taxes.
My students almost always include recent veterans of whatever
military adventure the U.S. is into, plus I now have plenty
of women whose husbands are there and most students know someone
in Iraq, so we get to talk about the differences between supporting
troops with love and supporting them via paying taxes to help
fund the machinery that is sending them to kill and die."
The Coalition for Peace Action in Princeton held its annual penny
poll in front of the Palmer Square post office. As reported in
the April 16, Princeton Packet, one passer-by dropped six of his
ten pennies into the environment section saying, "If we don't
help the environment, everything else goes." The poll's final
results were: education 28%, health care 25%, environment 24%,
housing 13.6%, military 10%. As usual, a strong contrast to how
the government divides each tax dollar.
Sonoma County, CA
Sonoma County Taxes for Peace had about 35 people handing out
flyers at five area post offices. This was way down from our normal
60-80 people over the 24 years we have been doing this.
We have not figured out the reason yet. We had problems at
two POs with our free speech rights. At one they refused to
let us set up on the large open area in front of the PO, which
is federal property. We have set up there for at least 20 years
after establishing our rights when they called the cops. They
had us set up on the sidewalk, which blocked pedestrian traffic.
It also made it difficult for them, since this is usually where
they put baskets to take incoming mail.
At another, the Postmaster called the sheriff and tried to
have our leafletters arrested. Luckily they were strong activists
who did not back down, asserted their free speech rights, and
were ready to be arrested. Eventually the Postmaster retreated
with threats that it would be different next year. This PO is
in a shopping center, so we will need to review the Pruneyard
decision to verify our rights.
Have others had similar experiences this year? I am wondering
if there was an order from above to not allow free speech on
federal property. These are both new Postmasters since last
Our favorite response of the day came from a heavily tattooed
biker type who said, "I don't pay taxes. I'm a criminal."
(Replies on post office experiences can be sent to NWTRCC and
will appear in the next issue.)
- -Larry Harper
Activists with the Syracuse Peace Council conducted people's penny
polls during the week of April 12-16 at area colleges and handed
out the WRL pie charts. They contacted the schools in advance,
and received permission to table from Onondaga Community College,
LeMoyne College, and Syracuse University. The results are on the
web at www.peacecouncil.net/Prog/PennyPoll04.htm.
[Return to List of Headlines]
I've been a NWTRCC tax counselor for about
10 years, usually receiving one or two counseling calls a year.
This is my inspiring story for 2004: Nina, a 26-year-old waitress,
took a WRL pie chart flyer last year at our tax day demonstration
and did not file as a result. She claimed "exempt" on her W-4
last year and was afraid she would owe a lot this year. As it
turned out, she lived below a taxable income. I congratulated
her for choosing poverty instead of war.
Her response: "Awesome!"
- -Judy Conrad, North Carolina
Encounters of the IRS Kind
As a long-time war tax resister, I had always assumed the IRS
would not levy a bank account at the same time they were garnishing
wages, especially when what's in the account is the minimum left
in the paycheck according to IRS regulations. I now understand
differently. According to the IRS agent I spoke with about enforced
collection, they are looking for people to make "voluntary arrangements."
Even when they get a good "hit" (i.e., from an on-going garnishment),
after a certain length of time has passed (with no "voluntary
arrangements" having been made) IRS assumes the person has other
monies and goes after them. (In my case the garnishment had gone
on around a year.) I asked whether the intent behind not garnishing
the total paycheck was to leave enough money to subsist on (approximately
$150/week), and the agent agreed. [Ed's note: This IRS policy/
practice contradiction deserves our argument.]
Upon informing the agent that I had no intention of making
voluntary payments (briefly explaining that my conscience wouldn't
let me pay for war and that I'd redirected my money instead,
and her polite response that I should be discussing this matter
with my Congressperson), she noticed that I hadn't been getting
withheld. The agent had previously said I should change my W-4
to avoid being subject to the requirement of estimated tax withholdings
in the future-and now added that I could also receive a civil
penalty for attempting to avoid taxes (i.e., a "frivolous" penalty).
One other thing: When I called, I was asked for identifying
information. When they asked for my phone number I said I didn't
care to supply it. I was told the reason they asked for it was
that they might call before taking harsh action, but the agent
went on to say they rarely have the opportunity to call first.
A sidenote: My garnishment was originally for the 1998 through
2001 tax years. When this amount had been taken from me, the
employer reinstated my full paycheck again. But another tax
year had already passed by then, and after a few months the
IRS contacted the employer and said I had never been released
from the garnishment and to start taking my money again. I had
absolutely no warning, and only learned of it via my (diminished)
paycheck. The employer had been contacted by telephone, and
there was absolutely nothing in writing. The employer was told
that they could not stop garnishing me without an IRS release.
Although an amount was given over the telephone to the employer,
it was not clear to me how long the garnishment would continue.
I was concerned about both how/when a release would get issued
and the effect of passing yet another tax year.
A few months later when the IRS tried to levy my bank account
in addition to the garnishment, I called them. It was maybe
three weeks after tax day, and it turned out IRS did not have
the newly finished year in their records yet. They were also
about three weeks behind in showing the payments the employer
had already made via the garnishment, but accepted my figures
for the additional amounts. Once it was determined they had
taken what they wanted, the release process was immediate-and
they promised me a refund six weeks later for the garnishment's
overpayment. I'll have to frame it if it actually arrives!
[Ed's note: The IRS practice of taking a bank account in addition
to a salary levy should warn resisters away from direct deposit
of paychecks, where you have less control over deposits.]
- -Joanne Karl, Oregon
Student Financial Aid
We are continuing to learn about this topic, particularly for
those who are nonfilers and have not had forms to provide with
the financial aid application. People may wish to fill out forms
and send them in, assuming they are not asked to provide forms
that were filed with the IRS. Some schools do seem to be checking
with the IRS to verify income, and some aid officers seem to be
especially skeptical that families can live below a taxable income.
Therefore, our best advice is to provide all that you can to back
up your income if you are applying for financial aid for yourself
or your child. And, stay tuned as we learn more. Please let the
NWTRCC office know your experiences with this too, and all options
for financial aid not connected to the federal system.
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Thanks to these organizations who made recent contributions
to NWTRCC. Your ongoing and regular support is greatly appreciated.
....and, donor-directed grants through the Vermont Community Foundation
(Mothers money Fund) and the Sante Fe Community Foundation.
Oregon Community for War Tax Resistance
Michiana War Tax Refusers
Southern Wisconsin Alternative Tax Fund
Maine War Tax Funds for Life
Albuquerque War Tax Resistance Alternative Fund
Washington DC Area Alternative Fund
Quaker City Meeting
Sisters of St. Joseph
NWTRCC will be sending out 2004 affiliation fee reminders
pretty soon. And, since we are coming into the period of redirection,
we ask that individuals and alternative funds keep NWTRCC in
mind as your redirection decisions are made.
[Return to List of Headlines]
Eastern Region - New York City War Tax Resistance has a
new email address: email@example.com.
New network lists of counselors, affiliate groups, area contacts,
and alternative funds were updated and mailed out to affiliates
in November. The NWTRCC website includes contacts
for all listings with offices, and for individuals with email
addresses. If you would like the complete national list or the
list for your region, please contact the office for a copy.
[Return to List of Headlines]
Lobbying for Conscience's Sake
By Theo Sitther, Center on Conscience & War
The Center on Conscience & War, in conjunction with the National
Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and a number of other sponsoring
organizations, held its annual National Lobby Day on May 14th,
2004. Over 50 conscientious people gathered in Washington and
over fifty others around the country lobbied locally in at least
twenty states for the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill
(HR 2037) and against the return of the draft.
The lobby event in Washington began with opening remarks by
Bill Galvin, Counseling Coordinator for the Center on Conscience
& War, who spoke on the existence of COs throughout American
history from Native American history to Colonial times to present.
Marian Franz, Executive Director of the National Campaign for
a Peace Tax Fund followed up Bill's remarks by talking about
the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund bill. J.E. McNeil, Executive
Director for the Center on Conscience & War, talked about the
wide range of CO beliefs and about the possibility of the draft
and concluded the opening remarks.
After a short training session on how to lobby, participants
formed state delegations, discussed strategy, and went out to
lobby. Congressional staff and members heard personal stories
of conscientious objection; about the dangers that COs face
today; about what can be done to give more rights to COs; about
the rumors of draft reinstatement. Most in Congress said that
a draft is not needed to solve America's military problem; but
most, if not all, said that a draft would be needed if there
were another "national emergency." NCPTF reported that Elijah
Cummings (MD-7) signed on as a cosponsor to the Peace Tax Fund
bill several days after one of his constituents lobbied him
on lobby day. The bill now has 40 cosponsors.
For more information on a possible draft, contact the Center
on Conscience and War, www.nisbco.org
For information on the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund bill
contact the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, www.peacetaxfund.org
or 1-888 732-2382 or (202) 483-3751.
[Return to List of Headlines]
Rocky Mountain Highlights
War tax resisters gathered May 7-9 in Colorado Springs for a weekend
of workshops, discussions, meetings, great food, and great company-all
this provided by our wonderful hosts from the Bijou community
of activists and Citizens for Peace in Space. The Bijou community
has developed a network of services over the years, including
a soup kitchen, hospitality house for homeless people, land trust
for low income housing, regular vigils and actions at any one
of the five military installations in Colorado Springs, a great
tee shirt business (Alternitees), a bicycle clinic, and expertise
on high-tech weapons and the militarization of space.
WTRs from Oregon, Texas, New York, California, Wisconsin,
Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and a smattering of people
from other parts of Colorado began the weekend with dinner on
Friday in the lovely dining room of the Gill Foundation. We
shared our April 15 experiences and were entertained by the
"no war tax can-can" from the Portland, Oregon, resisters.
By the end of the day Saturday our brains were packed with
new (and horrifying) stories about everything from targeting
unmanned drones to carry out pinpoint assassinations, to the
so-called "clean-up" at Rocky Flats, to the oppression of Palestinians.
Loring Wirbel, author of Star Wars: U.S. Tools of Space Supremacy,
and Bill Sulzman, director of Citizens for Peace in Space gave
a presentation and workshop about space weapons and the planning
that goes on at the highest levels of air command-despite who's
in the White House. (See www.space4peace.org.) Erin Hamby, staff
at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (www.rmpjc.org/disarm)
in Boulder, explained the status of the Department of Energy
supervised clean-up at Rocky Flats, the contaminated site of
the former nuclear weapons factory. It is to become a National
Wildlife Refuge, but activists are skeptical about the sincerity
of the clean-up and are monitoring tests and fighting to ensure
the area is made truly safe. Bill and Genie Durland were just
back from a Christian Peacemaker Teams (www.cpt.org) delegation
to Palestine and focused their presentation on how the "security"
wall that Israel is building is designed to take Palestinian
land and further isolate Palestinians into small "Bantustans."
Workshops during the day covered the ongoing project of how
to support aging WTRs and those seeking alternative health insurance;
sustaining community; WTR counseling; and organizing strategies
for wtr. By the end of the day we were ready for some "In-TAX-icating
Rebelry !" The local political group, First Strike Theatre,
along with Colorado Springs based singer/songwriter Malcolm
Lucard, and "Edna & Loodine" provided all of us and the general
public with a great evening of song and shtick. Thanks to all
of them for a collection that netted NWTRCC over $200.
The NWTRCC Coordinating Committee (CC) met Sunday to deal with
business, including selecting new members for the Administrative
Committee. Leaving the Ad Com were Paula Rogge, Jessica Stewart,
and Sasha Vodnik (thanks to all!), while Rick Bickhart, Peter
Smith, and Lincoln Rice continue. Chosen from a great list of
nominees were Eszter Freeman (CA) for a 2-year full position,
and Linda Holtzbaur (NY) and Cicada Brokaw (NC) as alternates.
Daniel Woodham (OR) will represent NWTRCC at the peace tax/WTR
international conference this summer in Belgium, and he collected
ideas and greetings to take to the conference. We also agreed
to add a budget line for annual dues to Conscience and Peace
Tax International (CPTI).
Three proposals came to the meeting. The group agreed to establish
a Fundraising Clerk position, a point person who is a volunteer
and works closely with the Coordinator. Travel to the CC meetings
will be provided. We heartily endorsed the idea for a National
WTR Conference, and asked proposer Ed Hedemann to form a committee
to get to work on this. Changing the organization's name was
a proposal that arrived with some support from WTRs around the
country. Many find "National War Tax Resistance Coordinating
Committee" to be unwieldy, but the consensus of the meeting
was that it remains descriptive of our work, and we should not
change it. We will entertain further comments between now and
the November meeting and decide in November if there is a very
strong desire in our network to change the name.
Guidelines were passed for dispersing special travel funds
to help affiliates send a representative to the November Coordinating
Committee meetings. We hope to see more regular attendance at
meetings by offering this funding and will circulate a short
application form to affiliates.
Finally, a big thanks goes out to Rick Bickhart (meeting coordinator),
Esther Kisamore (cook and meal coordinator), and everyone else
in Colorado Springs for helping to put together a great weekend!
If you are interested in volunteering for any positions
or tasks mentioned above, please contact the NWTRCC office.
Mark your calendars!
NWTRCC Coordinating Committee Conference and Meetings
November 5-7, 2004
Hosted by the Conscience, Militarism and War Tax Concerns Working
Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM)
For those who are flying, the Philadelphia airport is served
by Southwest, which has been lower-priced, but you might want
to also check fares to Baltimore- Washington airport (BWI) and
then the bus or train up to Philly. There's a free shuttle from
BWI airport to AMTRAK-and AMTRAK stops in Philly for those who
choose the train.
Coming to NYC for the RNC?
Yes, that's the Republican National Convention in New York City
from August 29-September 2.
NWTRCC will hold a gathering for war tax resisters at some
point during the action days and also participate in a clearinghouse
and drop-in center in conjunction with the War Resisters League
at 339 Lafayette Street.
Please be in touch with the NWTRCC office if you are coming,
and we will set a time and post it on our website. If you would
like to leaflet or table for WTR, please be in touch about that
too! 800-269-7464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Return to List of Headlines]
Arrested for Refusing to Pay for War
A small religious society in southern New Jersey, The Restored
Israel of YAHWEH, has found themselves under attack from the IRS.
Members refuse federal income tax because it is a war tax, a stand
taken by the group since 1948 when their founder, mentor and Prophet,
Jeremiah (Leo J. Volpe) stopped paying federal income tax.
Within the community two members own a small construction
business, and the IRS has carried on an investigation of withholding
practices of the business for more than six years. Members say
they have been followed and harassed by the IRS during this
time, culminating on April 12, 2004, with the arrests by federal
marshals of the two owners and one other member of The Restored
Israel of YAHWEH. Kevin McKee, Joseph Donato, and Inge Donato
were arrested at their homes in Hamilton and Egg Harbor Townships
and taken to U.S. district court in Camden, NJ. They were charged
with "conspiring to defraud the United States for the purpose
of impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful
government functions of the IRS in ascertaining, computing,
assessing, and collecting taxes; Tax Evasion; and Failure to
File Tax Returns."
The three heard that the IRS was coming to their job site
in advance and remained at home, not wanting a public arrest
that would satisfy the IRS desire to make them examples in front
of other small business owners. The marshals arrived at the
homes with a battering ram and weapons drawn, despite the community's
lack of any history of violence. All have since been released
An arraignment was held on April 22, and the next court date
scheduled is a status conference on June 25. The right to a
speedy trial was waived, because the judge deemed the case to
be a complex one.
Letters of support can be sent to Restored Israel of YAHWEH,
PO Box 801, Mays Landing, NJ 08330. They also ask that people
consider attending the trial.
More detailed information and updates are available on
the society's website: www.rioy.org.
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