Truth about government ‘enemies lists’
By Paul J. DesFosses
I read with interest the commentary in the Idaho State Journal from Idaho House of Representatives member Phil Hart describing his fight with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service over the IRS demand that he hand over the names of all those who had bought a copy of his book, “Constitutional Income.”
More recently, the Journal carried an editorial on the Utah state whistle blowers’ release of a list identifying 1,300 illegal aliens residing in our country. The whistle blowers are demanding the prosecution and deportation of these illegals, exposing the federal government’s refusal to do so.
As a retired U.S. Treasury agent, I feel that perhaps I should respond to both of these Journal reports. Rep. Phil Hart’s comments and his criticism of the alleged IRS retaliation against him for failing to “snitch” on and provide the names of those citizens who dared to buy and read his book detailing the critical history of the federal income tax law brought back vivid memories of what I witnessed while serving as a federal agent assigned to the Internal Revenue Service Idaho District.
At that time I was a National Treasury Employees Union official and union steward in situations involving IRS employees who had been ordered to commit reprehensible and often felony criminal actions, or who had been ordered to NOT enforce the income tax law fairly and equitably.
I wish I could say that Rep. Hart is wrong and that the IRS and other government agencies do not demand the names of lawful citizens innocent of any crime. The truth is, government “hit lists” of innocent and law-abiding citizens occur routinely. The IRS has collected and compiled over the years huge lists of citizens who were identified as “enemies of government” and who then were targeted for audit and harassment because of their exercise of free speech, religious beliefs or political views.
Idaho Sen. Frank Church exposed such lists and abuses of citizens in his hearings into government abuse of power, which found that even the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was targeted by the IRS and attacked by a criminal coalition of the IRS and the FBI. Dr. King’s tax returns were “audited” by the IRS to obtain the names of every citizen who dared to financially support his civil rights efforts. These names went on the “enemy list.”
These IRS-amassed “enemies lists” included movie stars (Debbie Reynolds, Sammy Davis Jr. and John Wayne were on the lists), numerous religious leaders (from Dr. King to L. Ron Hubbard to Ezra Taft Benson), and senators and congressmen who had dared question government excesses and abuses of citizens.
I, as a union official, was involved in litigation before the U.S. Merit System Protection Board involving IRS employees who had been discriminated and retaliated against solely for their religious affiliation in one of the churches named in the “IRS’ Enemies List of Churches,” or because they had blown the whistle on IRS felony criminal activities that targeted taxpayers.
As a retired senior federal agent, I was later invited to testify at several congressional hearings into IRS abuses. These congressional hearings eventually resulted in the passage of the Federal Whistle Blower Protection Act, the Federal Taxpayers Bill of Rights I, II and III, and the Federal Anti-Browsing (anti-snooping) Act. This legislation specifically banned labeling or targeting citizens as “enemies” or “protesters” based upon their exercise of lawful activities and constitutionally protected rights.
It may be that the IRS, FBI, EPA, OSHA and countless other federal agencies are, once again, thanks to the Homeland Security laws, compiling “enemies lists.” This would seem to be supported by the facts in the case of Rep. Phil Hart.
Whether the lists of illegal aliens released by the whistleblowers in the Utah situation represent such government compiled “enemies lists” remains to be determined. It would certainly appear that unlike the other “enemies lists,” the illegal alien lists revealed by the Utah whistle blowers were lawful and justified.
These were the lists of law breakers and not of innocent citizens. The illegal aliens are criminals, regardless of whether or not their admirers and supporters want to admit it! The Utah state whistle blowers were attempting to expose government’s hypocrisy and failure to support and enforce the immigration laws. As such, the Utah whistleblowers are heroes!
For a change, let’s hope the illegal alien criminals and the bureaucratic hypocrites failing to uphold our immigration laws and not the whistle blower heroes are punished! How long will it be before those of us who honor the Constitution and support the immigration laws are listed and targeted by these hypocrite bureaucrats as “enemies of government?”
Paul J. DesFosses is a retired U.S. Treasury agent and a Republican candidate for Bannock County treasurer.