National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

More than a Paycheck:News from the War Tax Resistance Movement

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

June 2004 Contents

Subscriptions are $15/year, for your own complete illustrated paper copies.

Editor: Ruth Benn
Layout: Ajay Advani/Susan Quinlan

More Than a Paycheck is the bimonthly publication of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement in the United States. NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional, and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues.

NWTRCC Mission Statement: NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, environmental destruction, and militarization of law enforcement as integrally linked with the militarism which we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars, NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all.

  • Tax Day Round-Up  
  • Counseling Notes   Testimonial;   Encounters of the IRS Kind;   Student Financial Aid
  • THANKS   to these organizations who made recent donations to NWTRCC. Your ongoing and regular support is greatly appreciated!
  • Network List Updates
  • Legislative News   Lobbying for Conscience's Sake   By Theo Sutter, Center on Conscience and War
  • NWTRCC Business   Rocky Mountain Highlights;   Business Meeting;   Mark Your Calendars;   Coming to NYC for the RNC?
  • WTR Profile   Arrested for Refusing to Pay for War  
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Acrobat PDF of the June issue

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Tax Day Round-Up

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.

Albuquerque, NM

"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

Allentown, PA

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, TX

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

Baltimore, MD

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

Brattleboro, VT

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 commitment.

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 for Youth.

Chicago, IL

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.

Milwaukee, WI

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.

Nashville, TN

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.

Oakland, CA

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 the government.

-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

Portland, OR

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 steev@wrlpdx.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."

Princeton, NJ

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 year.

Our favorite response of the day came from a heavily tattooed biker type who said, "I don't pay taxes. I'm a criminal."

-Larry Harper
(Replies on post office experiences can be sent to NWTRCC and will appear in the next issue.)

Syracuse, NY

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.

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Counseling Notes:

Testimonial

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!

-Joanne Karl, Oregon
[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.]

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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MANY THANKS

Thanks to these organizations who made recent contributions to NWTRCC. Your ongoing and regular support is greatly appreciated.

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

....and, donor-directed grants through the Vermont Community Foundation (Mothers money Fund) and the Sante Fe Community Foundation.

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.

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Network List Updates

Eastern Region - New York City War Tax Resistance has a new email address: info@nycplf.org.

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.

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Legislative News

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 or 1-800-379-2679

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.

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NWTRCC Business

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.

Business Meeting

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
Philadelphia, PA

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 nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org.

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WTR Profile

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 from jail.

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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National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
PO Box 150553, Brooklyn, NY 11215 • Email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org
www.nwtrcc.org