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

Here’s another note about Utah Governor J. Bracken Lee’s tax resistance. From the Albany Knickerbocker:

Unconstitutional, He Says

Governor of Utah Defies U.S. on Tax

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

Republican Lee, now in his third year of his second term as 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.”

And for the fourth straight year he refused to proclaim as United Nations Day in Utah. Instead, he said, he will proclaim as United States Day.

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

“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.”

Mr. Lee elaborated on his tax-fighting plan in an interview after he announced it at a meeting of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. At the meeting he put it this way:

“I shall put my tax in the bank here in Salt Lake City. Not a dollar of it will they (the federal government) get until legality of the case is tested in the United States Supreme Court.”

To Awaken People

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

“My main thinking,” he said, “its if I can get this before the public I can get some people to thinking about this thing. I’m interested in having the American people awakened to what’s occurring in this country.”

Mr. Lee’s announced plan recalled the cases of two women whose defiance of the federal income tax laws drew considerable attention not many years ago.

One involved Miss Vivien Kellems, a Stonington, Conn. industrialist and critic of government tax policy. The other concerned Mrs. Caroline Foulke Urie, a Quaker widow from Yellow Springs, Ohio, who objected to government expenditures for war. Mrs. Urie died at the age of 81.

Kellems Case Recalled

Early in , Miss Kellems stopped withholding income taxes from employes of her cable grip firm, contending the tax law was unconstitutional and claiming the government couldn’t require her to serve as an unpaid tax collector.

The government paid no heed to her requests to be indicted to provide a test case. Instead, it levied penalties totaling $7,819 and seized the money from the Kellems company’s bank accounts. However Miss Kellems and her brother, David, sued to recapture the money. In , a federal court jury in New Haven decided she had not acted “willfully” and returned a verdict entitling Miss Kellems to recover most of the money the government had seized.

Mrs. Urie’s case arose in when she decided to withhold part of her income tax because she believed it would be spent for war purposes. The amount so withheld she donated to organizations she felt were promoting peace.

The government never sought to prosecute.

From the Cambrian:


On , David and James Evans, master and servant, were committed for trial, on the evidence of Mr. Thomas Thomas, of Pontcerrig, near Llanfihangel-Rhosycorn, Carmarthenshire, on a charge of having entered his house, and extorted money from him by threats. Early on , Mr. Thomas’s house was set on fire by a party of disguised Rebeccaites, amounting to about three hundred persons, who were so determined to accomplish their purpose, that they formed themselves into a ring around the burning premises, to prevent any attempt being made to extinguish the fire. A large quantity of butter, cheese, and, in fact, all the property the party could lay their hands upon, were destroyed. This was done out of revenge, because Mr. Thomas had given evidence which led to the committal of David and James Evans. — On , the premises of Aberduar farm, on the Carmarthen and Lampeter road, about six miles from the latter place, were set on fire, and the stables and outhouses totally consumed. It appears that the Rev. Thomas Rees, son-in-law of the late Mr. John Thomas, surgeon, of Aberduar, who is now the proprietor of the farm, had received several notices from Becca, in consequence of his having given a tenant of his a notice to quit, without there being, in her Ladyship’s opinion, sufficient grounds for his doing so. It appeared that three different parts of the premises had been nearly simultaneously fired.