Utah Governor J. Bracken Lee Refuses to Pay Federal Income Tax

A Republican, J. Bracken Lee served for six consecutive terms as mayor of Price, Utah. Blunt and outspoken, Governor Lee often found bills passed by the Legislature not to his liking. He established a record for the number of vetoes. One of his major “crusades” as governor was in opposition to the federal government’s foreign aid program.

Today, excerpts from a handful of news articles from about the federal income tax resistance of Utah governor J. Bracken Lee:

Governor of Utah Will Refuse to Pay All His Income Tax

Utah’s Gov. J. Bracken Lee says he will refuse to pay at least part of his income tax .

Lee, now in the third year of his second term as Republican governor, says he’s taking the stand because he thinks “it is unconstitutional for this nation to tax its citizens for the support of foreign nations.”

He said he will refuse to pay income taxes on personal income over and above his gubernatorial salary, from which the tax already has been withheld so far .

“Very likely I might decide I will also attempt to act on this withholding thing,” he told The Associated Press. “But I’m undecided whether I want to act on that or not.

“I plan to figure out my tax return and send it to the government together with a letter saying I have placed the money aside and will not pay it until the United States Supreme Court orders me to do so.”

Lee said he is taking his tax action to “awaken the American people.”

Internal Revenue Unworried by Lee

A spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, commenting today on a threat by Utah’s Gov. J. Bracken Lee not to pay at least part of his federal taxes, said the government has “adequate machinery for collecting the taxes.”

Lee, a Republican, announced at a mining meeting he would place his tax in a Salt Lake City bank but would not hand it over to the government until “legality of the case is tested in the United States Supreme Court.” He said he would do this to get people to “thinking about this thing.”

Utah Governor Declares He’ll Stick By Guns

Gov. J. Bracken Lee said he had no intention of resigning or retracting a statement that he would refuse to pay part of the federal tax on his income.

The executive committee of the Utah Democratic Party Friday demanded his resignation of the Republican Governor [sic] or retraction of what it called Lee’s “avowed defiance” of the nation’s laws.

State Democratic Party Chairman Milton Weilemann yesterday issued a statement on behalf of the party’s central committee.

It said, “The Governor’s attack is directed against Pres. Eisenhower and the President’s foreign policy.”

Weilemann said the “real issue” involved “is the maintenance of the orderly processes of American government.”

“He (Lee) swore under oath (when he took office) to uphold and defend the Constitution and the laws of the land,” Weilemann said. “He must not now be permitted to defy the laws of the nation and his solemn oath of office.”

He said Lee was using his office for national publicity and accused Utah Republicans of “failing to challenge the Governor’s ridiculous action,” and failing to defend Pres. Eisenhower and his foreign policy.

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