August 10, 2004
The Irwin Schiff case
Awhile back I commented on the case of tax avoider Irwin Schiff, who was ordered by a federal court to stop selling one of his fraudulent how-to-not-pay-income-taxes books. I thought this was extreme but justifiable on grounds that there's no free-speech right to defraud. This month's Intelligence Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center examines the legal precedents that pertain to this ruling, and comes down on Schiff's side. I still don't see this as a free speech crisis, but I admit that as described by the SPLC, the law is more complex on this point than I thought. Check it out.
On a general matter, you should be reading the Intelligence Report regularly. It's an excellent source of information. One other item of interest in this month's edition is this bit about a project being undertaken by one of the heirs to a right-wing publishing fortune. Once again, check it out.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 10, 2004 to Legal matters
This sounds like something similar to a "how to build a bomb on the Internet" type of situation. If the person offering the information is not actually doing it, it can be considered free speech, since it is simply providing information to the public.
Think of it as a "Kids, don't try this at home!" scenario.
One can only hope that any progeny resulting from Regnery's matchmaking service will rebel and take the opposite view of their parents.
I have met Irwin Schiff. He is a gentle man. He is extremely knowledgeable regarding all aspects of the federal income tax, including the law itself and the important Supreme-Court opinions bearing on it, the history of federal taxation and many related matters. He clearly believes in what he says and says what he believes. The government efforts to silence its critics by means of a federal-court order forbidding Mr. Schiff to sell his book or conduct seminars, and its effort to imprison him for the rest of his life (Mr. Schiff is 76)will almost certainly draw more Americans into the arena of noncompliance with the income-tax code.