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June 28, 2005

Joe Banister:

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.

Our Mantras

Certain words or phrases have become sacred to and are often repeated by People in the tax honesty movement as mantra.

Show 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.

No 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 in 2002.

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 The People.

Our work is making a difference. Joe Banister is proof.


An Apology

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 delay.

Fundraiser For Banister And
The RTP Lawsuit Continues

The 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.

A 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.

As of 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.

In 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 suggestion.

For 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.

Click here  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.

Click here to obtain your Freedom Pin.

Support the Foundation & Joe Banister further with your
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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