Ruth Benn Speaks About War Tax Resistance

Man Refuses To Pay Income Tax Because Of War In Viet Nam

Alan Cooper of Albuquerque has told the Internal Revenue Service that he will not pay his income tax “because of war being waged by my government in Viet Nam.”

Cooper, 28, sent a copy to the Albuquerque Journal a letter he said he sent to the IRS’s Albuquerque district office.

William M. Coard, district director of the IRS, said he had not seen the letter.

I think this is the same Allen Cooper who was suspended from his teaching job in for refusing to tear down student-made posters from his classroom that expressed opinions (pro and con) on war and later lost his job.

Cooper said one sign in his classroom, “No War Mr. Cooper,” was written by an Afghani student who had family members killed in U.S.-led bombings in Afghanistan, he said.

Barrett said student-made signs in his classroom carried both anti-war and pro-war messages that were made as part of class assignment.

“The posters displayed the whole range of opinions about the war in Iraq, but the administration said the pro-war posters were not pro enough,” he said. “Asking me to take down the posters was taking away the voice of the students and I was not going to do that.”

Anthony “Ace” Trujillo, the principal who suspended Cooper and another teacher for not toeing the line on war propaganda, was arrested in on felony cocaine possession charges, among others, and soon after resigned his post.

Here’s another story about Utah Governor J. Bracken Lee’s tax resistance, from the Eugene Register-Guard:

Utah Governor Intent on Testing Tax Law

The deadline for paying federal income tax passed , but part of Utah Gov. J. Bracken Lee’s tax money rested in a safe deposit box in a Salt Lake City bank.

“And that’s where it will stay,” Lee says, “until a court rules that either I or the government have a right to it.”

The Republican governor contends it is unconstitutional for the federal government to use tax revenue to aid foreign nations. By refusing to pay his tax he hopes to force a court test of this contention.

“There is no provision anywhere in the Constitution granting the U.S. government the right to appropriate taxpayers’ money for support of foreign nations,” Lee said, adding he’ll “fight… in the Supreme Court, if necessary, to prove my case.”

Last week Secretary of the Treasury Humphrey wrote Lee the government would “proceed in the usual manner to collect the taxes” if the governor didn’t pay up before the deadline.

Lee said he believes the “usual manner” might take some time — probably until after the elections.”

“But I’m not going to wait for the government to come to me,” he said. “I have my attorneys preparing briefs and I expect to take the case into court in about 50 days. At that time I will ask the government for a declaratory judgment.”

Lee filed his income tax return but did not enclose the money he owes on earnings other than his salary of $10,000, which is subject to the federal withholding tax. He declined to say how much the “other earnings,” mostly from investments, amount to.

Here’s another take on the story from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and some editorial comment from the Toledo Blade. In , Lee asked the Supreme Court to step in:

“Congress under the constitution has no power to collect and expend taxes for such purposes," Lee said in a brief which he filed with the court as governor of Utah and “in behalf of said state.”

Enforcement of federal tax laws in his state, he argued, “is causing not merely a violation of the federal rights of Utah citizens” but also “a definited pecuniary loss and financial damage to the state itself.”

In his brief, Lee asked permission to file with the court an original complaint — an action which could bypass the customary course of litigation through various lower courts.

Lee said a supreme court decision foreclosed the possibility of an individual questioning congressional expenditures.

“The right of a state, however, to raise such question must exist,” he contended.

The Supreme Court didn’t buy it, refusing to hear his case.