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Tax Protestor Dummies > Bill
Posted by Yeti Man 48 on the Diligizer Board
"Bill Benson's findings, published in "The Law That Never Was," make
a convincing case that the 16th amendment was not legally ratified and that
Secretary of State Philander Knox was not merely in error, but committed fraud
when he declared it ratified in February 1913. What follows is a summary of
some of the major findings for many of the states, showing that their ratifications
were not legal and should not have been counted.
The 16th amendment had been sent out in 1909 to the state governors for ratification
by the state legislatures after having been passed by Congress. There were
48 states at that time, and three-fourths, or 36, of them were required to
give their approval in order for it to be ratified. The process took almost
the whole term of the Taft administration, from 1909 to 1913"
Truth: In 1909 there were only 46 states. This is important because
it changes the number of states necessary to ratify a new amendment. With
48 states 36 votes were needed. With 46 states only 35 votes. On January
6, 1912, New Mexico was admitted to the Union as the 47th state. On February
14, 1912 Arizona became the 48th state in the union. Since Arizona and
New Mexico joined the Union after the amendment was sent for ratification
by the states they did not have to vote on ratification.
Knox had received responses from 42 states when he declared the 16th amendment
ratified on February 25, 1913, just a few days before leaving office to make
way for the administration of Woodrow Wilson. Knox acknowledged that four of
those states (Utah, Conn, R.I. and N.H.) had rejected it, and he counted 38
states as having approved it. We will now examine some of the key evidence
Bill Benson found regarding the approval of the amendment in many of those
In Kentucky, the legislature acted on the amendment without even having received
it from the governor (the governor of each state was to transmit the proposed
amendment to the state legislature). Truth: This is not true as presented.
The governor at that time had only to RECOMMEND the amendment for passage,
not physically transmit to the legistlature.
The version of the amendment that the Kentucky legislature made up and acted
upon omitted the words "on income" from the text, so they weren't
even voting on an income tax! When they straightened that out (with the help
of the governor), the Kentucky senate rejected the amendment. Yet Philander
Knox counted Kentucky as approving it. Truth: Again, not true as presented.
The legislature of Kentucky as a whole passed the proposed amendment after
the correction was made. In fact, the Kentucky Senate voted to reject the entire
sentence suggested by the governor, but accepted the change when the governor
made a change in sentence structure.
In Oklahoma, the legislature changed the wording of the amendment so that
its meaning was virtually the opposite of what was intended by Congress, and
this was the version they sent back to Knox. Yet Knox counted Oklahoma as approving
it, despite a memo from his chief legal counsel, Reuben Clark, that states
were not allowed to change it in any way. Truth: Even if Oklahoma didn't
count, which was debated in a federal appeals court and Oklahoma's vote upheld,
there were still enough votes that it would pass today.
Attorneys who have studied the subject have agreed that Kentucky and Oklahoma
should not have been counted as approvals by Philander Knox, and, moreover,
if any state could be shown to have violated its own state constitution or
laws in its approval process, then that state's approval would have to be thrown
out. That gets us past the "presumptive conclusion" argument, which
says that the actions of an executive official cannot be judged by a court,
and admits that Knox could be wrong. Truth: Note that Benson says "attorneys" without
identifying who they were, their bona fides for their decisions, or even how
many. What Benson fails to say in his article is that the votes of Kentucky
and Oklahoma were upheld on appeal.
If we subtract Kentucky and Oklahoma from the 38 approvals above, the count
of valid approvals falls to 36, the exact number needed for ratification. If
any more states can be shown to have had invalid approvals, the 16th amendment
must be regarded as null and void. Truth: Since Benson has not shown
that Kentucky and Oklahoma should not count, and since courts at the time of
voting say they should count, we cannot deduct Kentucky and Oklahoma from the
The state constitution of Tennessee prohibited the state legislature from
acting on any proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution sent by Congress
until after the next election of state legislators. The intent, of course,
is to give the proposed amendment a chance to become an issue in the state
legislative elections so that the people can have a voice in determining the
outcome. It also provides a cooling off period to reduce the tendency to approve
an idea just because it happens to be the moment's trend. You've probably already
guessed that the Tennessee legislature did not hold off on voting for the amendment
until after the next election, and you'd be right - they didn't; hence, they
acted upon it illegally before they were authorized to do so. They also violated
their own state constitution by failing to read the resolution on three different
days as prescribed by Article II, Section 18. These state constitutional violations
make their approval of the amendment null and void. Their approval is and was
invalid, and it brings the number of approving states down to 35, one less
than required for ratification. Truth: [What Benson did not tell us here
was that the US Supreme Court threw out that section of Tennessee Law because
it removed due process from the other states. The Supreme Court overthrew that
section of Tennessee law in 1897.[/b]
Texas and Louisiana violated provisions in their state constitutions prohibiting
the legislatures from empowering the federal government with any additional
taxing authority. Now the number is down to 33. Truth: Benson here is
trying to assert that the 16th amendment was a additional, or new, taxing authority.
It was not, rather, it was simply asserting autority granted to Congress but
used only sparingly until then. There was an income tax in 1845, another one
1861, and yet another in 1898. the amendment was written to make the income
a permanent fixture.
Twelve other states, besides Tennessee, violated provisions in their constitutions
requiring that a bill be read on three different days before voting on it.
This is not a trivial requirement. It allows for a cooling off period; it enables
members who may be absent one day to be present on another; it allows for a
better familiarity with, and understanding of, the measure under consideration,
since some members may not always read a bill or resolution before voting on
it (believe it or not!). States violating this procedure were: Mississippi,
Ohio, Arkansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, West Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, North
Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, and Illinois. Now the number is reduced to
21 states legally ratifying the amendment. Truth: Again, we have Benson
stating that these states violated their rules about how a vote should be held
but basing his claim on his interpretation what those laws mean. He provides
no proof whatsoever that his interpretation is the correct one, while the states
mentioned all voted in accordance with their understanding of the law.
When Secretary Knox transmitted the proposed amendment to the states, official
certified and sealed copies were sent. Likewise, when state results were returned
to Knox, it was required that the documents, including the resolution that
was actually approved, be properly certified, signed, and sealed by the appropriate
official(s). This is no more than any ordinary citizen has to do in filing
any legal document, so that it's authenticity is assured; otherwise it is not
acceptable and is meaningless. How much more important it is to authenticate
a constitutional amendment! Yet a number of states did not do this, returning
uncertified, unsigned, and/or unsealed copies, and did not rectify their negligence
even after being reminded and warned by Knox. The most egregious offenders
were Ohio, California, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Minnesota - which did not
send any copy at all, so Knox could not have known what they even voted on!
Since four of these states were already disqualified above, California is now
subtracted from the list of valid approvals, reducing it to 20.
These last five states, along with Kentucky and Oklahoma, have particularly
strong implications with regard to the fraud charge against Knox, in that he
cannot be excused for not knowing they shouldn't have been counted. Why was
he in such a hurry? Why did he not demand that they send proper documentation?
They never did.
Further review would make the list dwindle down much more, but with the number
down to 20, sixteen fewer than required, this is a suitable place to rest,
without getting into the matter of several states whose constitutions limited
the taxing authority of their legislatures, which could not give to the federal
govern authority they did not have.
The results from the six states Knox had not heard from at the time he made
his proclamation do not affect the conclusion that the amendment was not legally
ratified. Of those six: two (Virginia and Pennsylvania) he never did hear from,
because they ignored the proposed amendment; Florida rejected it; two others
(Vermont and Massachusetts) had rejected it much earlier by recorded votes,
but, strangely, submitted to the Secretary within a few days of his ratification
proclamation that they had passed it (without recorded votes); West Virginia
had purportedly approved it at the end of January 1913, but its notification
had not yet been received (remember that West Virginia had violated its own
constitution, as noted above).
Truth: Every court in which a tax protestor has used arguments raised
by Benson has upheld the votes of the 38 states ratifying the amendment
(only three states' votes were challenged at the time) and Benson's arguments
have lost every time used. Benson brought arguments that other highly knowledgeable
people, including Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, could have made against
the amendment. No one, except a few in the states already mentioned, did
so. Benson, who admittedly is not a constitutional expert, and who admittedly
did not obtain copies of the state laws of every state he says violated
its laws to pass the amendment, is simply one more tax protestor who thought
he had found a clever way to avoid paying the tax. He was wrong.