June 28, 2005
He Challenged The Income Tax
And Withholding Laws -- And He Won
Make no mistake: Joe Banister was indicted
specifically because he took overt and very public actions that directly
challenged the income tax and withholding laws.
In October of 2000, Joe Banister
spoke to the employees of CENCAL, a company founded and controlled by Al
Thompson. Banister told Thompson's workers that there was no legal authority
that established that ordinary Americans, such as them, had to pay federal
income taxes on the wages they made at CENCAL. During the meeting, Banister
presented sufficient documentary evidence in support of his conclusions.
Beginning in July of 2000, Thompson had stopped withholding the taxes from
the compensation paid to the employees of CENCAL.
As detailed in one of the criminal counts against
Banister, in 2000, Banister also prepared an amended 1998 individual income
tax return for Thompson, representing that, per U.S. law, Thompson’s
adjusted gross income and taxable income were “0,” (zero) not $66,192 and
$42,251 as originally reported.
The government convinced a grand jury to indict
Banister, setting the stage for a jury trial to determine whether Banister
violated certain laws governing conspiracy and aiding and assisting in the
filing of false tax returns. The government did not allow Banister to appear
or present any exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.
Banister had, by his words and acts, directly
challenged the legality of the operation and enforcement of the federal
income tax system.
He was acquitted in large part because the government chose not to confront
or attempt to rebut Banister's plain assertions that there is NO law that
requires most Americans to pay a tax on their wages and that most companies
are NOT required to withhold taxes on wages and turn it over to the IRS.
Banister’s 2000 meeting with the CENCAL employees
was video taped. A New York Times reporter, David Cay Johnston was
present during that meeting.
Twice, Banister’s jury watched the full tape of
the two-hour meeting. Once, at the start of the trial and again at the end
of the trial. In other words, the jury twice heard Banister explain, in
detail, citing various sections of the Constitution, law and regulations,
why and how he concluded that wages are not taxable income.
The government chose not to put an expert witness
on the stand to counteract what Banister told Thompson and the CENCAL
employees about the fraudulent enforcement and operation of the income tax
and withholding laws. We believe the government chose not to open this line
of inquiry before the jury because Banister’s attorney, Jeff Dickstein, was
more of an expert on the internal revenue laws than any government witness,
and would effectively prove to the jury that Banister was correct in his
understanding of the law and that there was no violation of the law.
Had the government been able to prove to the jury
that there is a law that requires most Americans to pay a tax on their wages
and a law that requires most companies to withhold the tax from the
paychecks of their workers, Joe Banister may well have been convicted of the
charges against him: conspiracy and willfully aiding and assisting the
filing of false tax returns.
The government prosecutors did not controvert what
Banister shared with Thompson and the CENCAL workers as he went about
proving the absence of legal authority establishing any requirement to pay
federal income taxes on wages. The government proffered no proof for the
record, linking Banister’s actions to any laws that (allegedly) required the
workers to pay the taxes and required Thompson to withhold the taxes.
If the government had any hope of convicting
Banister of the charges of conspiring and willfully aiding and assisting in
the filing of fraudulent tax returns, the government needed to first prove
there is a law that requires withholding and filing. In addition, the
government needed to establish that Banister, a highly educated, competent
and decorated member of IRS’s law enforcement team knew what that legal
requirements and duties imposed by the law were at the time he met with
Thompson and his employees.
Not only did the jury not receive the
required proof of such laws from the DOJ attorneys representing the
government, the jury received exculpatory evidence from Banister’s attorney
that the IRS fired Banister in 1999, rather than provide answers to
Banister’s significant questions regarding the legal authority behind the
IRS’s and CID's income tax and withholding enforcement activities. Beyond
this, the jury also received evidence detailing a DOJ attorney’s failed
attempt (in 2001) to get the government to respond positively to Banister’s
request for a meeting to discuss the matter.
In the end, all this was too much of an obstacle
for the government to overcome.
The jury obviously found it impossible to convict
Banister of conspiring with Thompson in 2000 to violate a law that the
government could not identify.
For the same reason, the jury obviously found it
impossible to convict Banister of aiding and assisting the filing of
fraudulent tax returns when no evidence had been put forth that they were,
in fact, fraudulent.
Finally, the jury obviously felt the government had an obligation to answer
Banister’s well researched questions, and the IRS's decision to terminate
Banister for asking the questions was clearly suspect. Even Banister's IRS
CID supervisor, when directly asked, was unable to cite any law requiring
Joe Banister to file an income tax return.
Joe Banister's case was no ordinary “tax
protester” case. The government went after one of their own who had directly
challenged the authority of the IRS and then acted openly upon that truth to
expose the income tax fraud -- and it failed to convict him.
That the government, which by our Right of Due Process bears the burden of
proof, would fail to put forth, and aver for the court record, the
essential, required legal elements of law and fact necessary to prove Joe
Banister's acts were criminal speaks volumes.
Certain words or phrases have become sacred to and
are often repeated by People in the tax honesty movement as mantra.
me the law” is one such phrase. We believe it was Sherry Jackson who
introduced these words to the lexicon of the tax honesty movement when she
took the microphone during the “Project Toto” conference at the Crystal City
Hilton in February 2002.
Answers, No Taxes” is another. We were introduced to this phrase during the
speech by Bob Schulz on the National Mall at the conclusion of Freedom Drive
To the extent the post-verdict interviews with
members of the Banister jury are an indicator, our mantras are being heard
across the land and are being taken to heart by an increasing number of We
Our work is making a difference. Joe Banister is
At the end of our previous article on the Banister
trial we stated we would provide video of post-verdict interviews of Joe and
several of the jurors. Due to a minor technical issue with the source video
disk that required it be returned to California, we will be delayed in
making the video available until later this week. We apologize for the
For Banister And
The RTP Lawsuit Continues
Freedom Pin project is off to a good start, raising money to help Joe
Banister and WTP pay the attorneys working on their court cases.
Freedom Pin signifies the wearer is a supporter of the federal Constitution
and those who are defending it such as Joe Banister and the named plaintiffs
in the landmark Right To Petition lawsuit.
today, $32,100 has been received by WTP for 321 Freedom Pins. Of this
amount, $16,050 has been sent to Joe Banister. Originally, in view of our
obligations to the Lane Law Firm for the RTP lawsuit, we said we would be
sending Joe 1/3 of the proceeds received for the Freedom Pins. However, we
decided early on to share 50% of the proceeds with Joe.
recognition and celebration of Independence Day, to further the distribution
of the Freedom Pins and to enhance the proceeds of the fundraiser, we
respectfully request People give serious consideration to the following
each $100 donation, we will send a Freedom Pin and one of the Foundation’s
attractive 12-page, colored brochures to a person the donor asks us to send
them to (preferably a young person of high school or college age).
We will include a note letting the person know who the donor was and that
the pin is the donor’s way of saying that the donor is a defender of our
Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights upon which our
American Republic firmly rests, that, as Americans, our individual Rights to
life, liberty and property are constitutionally guaranteed, and cannot be
repealed or denied by majority vote, and that it is the sacred
responsibility of every citizen to protect and defend the Constitution and
Bill of Rights against all enemies both foreign and domestic, including
those within our government who seek to deny our unalienable Rights.
to pin yourself or a young American.
If the pin is for someone other than you,
make sure to provide their name and address in the “Special Instructions &
Comments” box when processing your order so we can forward them the pin, the
personalized letter and a WTP color brochure.
Click Here to access selected
excerpts from Banister's Indictment.
In the excerpts, please note the government's recitation of the relevant
income tax and employment tax withholding laws in Sections II & III of the
indictment . They are intended to establish the legal authority for the
general-applicability tax and criminal charges alleged against Banister in
the balance of the indictment. Note that neither of these indictment
sections avers ANY specific statute or regulation which imposes these taxes.
One-half of the proceeds from
this fund-raising program will go to Citizen Banister and his family.
to obtain your Freedom Pin.
Support the Foundation & Joe
Banister further with
generous support of a
one-time or monthly subscription donation.
Click Here for a large version of the Banister family photo
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This function enables you to update your personal information,
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sign up as a WTP Congress volunteer,
become a local Coordinator, perform
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and access the secure content
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