Is income tax legal?
Evidence suggests
16th Amendment never ratified

Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series on the validity of the income tax.

By David Franke

WASHINGTON -- Evidence strongly suggests that the 16th Amendment, which establishes the income tax, was not approved properly as required by the Constitution and was fraudulently ratified.

"If this evidence is true, the income tax is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," says Robert L. Schulz.

Schulz is head of We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education, Inc., a New York state-based organization that hosted a symposium in Washington last week on the topic, "Are the Income and Social Security Taxes Legal?" The foundation twice sent registered letters to President Clinton, Senate President Pro Tempore Trent Lott, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, as well as the Internal Revenue Service, asking them to send representatives to the symposium who could explain the government's case for the legality of the income tax. They received no response, much less a speaker, but part of the conference was covered by C-SPAN and that resulted in hundreds of friendly responses from viewers.

A key speaker at the symposium was William J. Benson, author of a two-volume investigative report on the ratification of the 16th Amendment entitled "The Law That Never Was."

Benson was a special agent with the Illinois Department of Revenue for 10 years. He was fired after uncovering evidence of corruption in the agency. It took more than six years to get his case into a federal court, but the jury awarded him "a large amount," he says, for violations of his First Amendment rights.

What followed his victory is an even more amazing story. Benson delved into the history of the federal income tax -- the granddaddy of the state income taxes -- and became suspicious. He noted irregularities in the ratification of the 16th Amendment and pressed on in his research.

That research took him to the archives in the state capitals of each of the 48 states that were part of the United States in 1913, when the 16th Amendment was passed by the Congress. The Constitution requires ratification of amendments by three-fourths of the states, and Benson's meticulous research says this was never properly done. Secretary of State Philander Knox declared the amendment ratified on the basis of a report from his solicitor, but that report was "fraudulent," says Benson.

In each state archive, Benson uncovered the records of that state's consideration of the proposed amendment. To present a legally acceptable case "you must have documents that are notarized and certified," he explains. "Otherwise they're considered hearsay in court."

All total, Benson collected 17,000 documents, all properly notarized and certified by officials of the states. And what they reveal is shocking.

The ratification required by at least 36 states -- three-fourths of the 48 states then in existence -- has to be identical to the amendment passed by Congress. Benson cites federal documents affirming that for state approval to be acceptable, neither words nor punctuation can be changed. And the states may not violate their own state constitutions in ratifying the amendment.

Of the 48 states, here's the story:

  • Eight states (Rhode Island, Utah, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania) did not approve or ratify the amendment.
  • Texas and Louisiana were forbidden by their own state constitutions to empower the federal government to tax.
  • Vermont and Massachusetts rejected the amendment with a recorded vote count, and only later declared it passed without a recorded vote after the amendment was declared ratified by Knox.
  • Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, California and Washington violated their state constitutions in their ratification procedures.
  • Minnesota did not send any copy of its resolution to Knox, let alone a signed and sealed one, as required.
  • And Oklahoma, Georgia and Illinois made unacceptable changes in wording. (Some of the above states also made such changes, in addition to their other unacceptable procedures.)

Take 48 states, deduct these 21, and you have proper ratification by only 27 states -- far less than the required 36.

Benson's story doesn't end with the compilation and publication of his research. As expected, his evidence that our present system of government is based on a fraud did not get a friendly reception in Washington. Benson says a senatorial aide attempted to bribe him. Suppress all copies of your books, he was told, and "you will live in comfort for the rest of your life."

Benson didn't cooperate, and he landed in prison on income tax charges.

"Going to prison was not easy," he told the symposium, "but because I had written volume one and was speaking about it, the government was determined to put me in prison."

And that wasn't all. Benson was on prescribed medication for encephalitis. That medication was confiscated, and "four guards and three nurses entered my cell and forcibly injected me with different medication." As a result, he spent nearly two years in prison in a wheelchair.

"I now have to use a cane and walker, and often a wheelchair," Benson said, "all because of the federal government."

An appellate court reversed Benson's conviction, and he was free after 15 months and five days. But, ignoring prohibitions of double jeopardy, the Feds clamped him in prison again. And took away his medication again.

This time he was in jail only 22 days. His wife had appealed to Congress, and after a congressional inquiry the prison authorities stopped his overmedication and returned him to his original prescribed medication. The judge who had jailed him was furious when presented with evidence that the government's actions were unlawful, and ordered him released.

The latest chapter in Benson's saga is the counterattack.

"As soon as I get back to Illinois I'm suing them -- every one of them," Benson told WorldNetDaily -- and he started listing them: four U.S. attorneys, a first assistant U.S. attorney, and assistant U.S. attorney. All except the judge, that is. "I could sue the judge -- no question -- but I'm not going to do that," Benson added.

"Fear is the worst thing you face," said Benson of his prison experiences. And now it's time for the prosecutors who were his persecutors to be afraid.



Monday: Part 2 on the symposium regarding the legality of the income tax.

David Franke is a new Washington-based WorldNetDaily contributing editor for technology and Y2K issues. He can be reached by email.