Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Your tax dollars at work: Government harassment

I've been reading a book called Strange Attractor: The Discordian Libertarian Writings of Jake Shannon.

For awhile after he moved to Utah, Shannon ventured into politics. There's an interesting passage about what happened after he ran for Congress as a Libertarian on a platform of (among other things) abolishing the IRS:

Well, not even eight weeks after I announced my candidacy for the third Congressional District, I went to check my private business banking account and found it emptied out! At first, I thought I was the victim of identity theft, so I called up my bank. This is when I first found out that the IRS had levied my account! Without so much as even a letter to warn me, they had simply emptied thousands of dollars from my business account. In addition, I started to be charged non-sufficient funds fees by my bank for services that were on auto-draft. I was dumbfounded.

I called up my accountant, and she began the process of trying to figure out what was going on. I had my own business for years and had never had a single problem with taxes. After much back and forth, the IRS said they made a "mistake" and put the funds back into my account. No apology and no offer to compensate me for the hundreds of dollars of NSF fees from the bank their "error" had caused me to incur. Now, normally, I'd be open to the possibility of chalking the whole experience up to coincidence, but when the exact same "error" happened to my wife's business just a few weeks later, it became clear this was harassment. Our accountant cleared everything AGAIN, and she got her money put into her account, but it was becoming clear that there were consequences for speaking freely. 

That's from Chapter 20, "Project Jake." Of course, it's not embezzlement if the government does it.

Now check out Jesse Walker's posting at Reason's  Hit and Run blog, "That Time the President, the FBI, and a Moonlighting Supreme Court Justice Tried to Dig Up Dirt on a Movie Star." It details how, when LBJ's daughter began dating George Hamilton, the president enlisted a Supreme Court justice (!) and the apparently-compliant FBI to dig up dirt on Hamilton.

This was back in 1966 — nearly half a century ago. So why is it relevant now? Walker writes that while some of the story has been known for years, the full FBI file has yet to be released. A law professor sued two years ago to get the file made public. That hasn't happened yet, but a U.S. district judge has issued an opinion.

I'm hoping that Jake will press his own case to find out who ordered the IRS to harass him. Perhaps in 48 years, some of the truth will come out.

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Illiaminated said...
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