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Joe Banister, Purported To Be Ex-CID Agent
Friend Or Foe???

by Otto Skinner

There is a lot of ballyhoo about the Special Agent from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division who quit working for the IRS and who has supposedly come over to the side of the non-filing patriots. All of this ballyhoo might be summarized as follows. "Oh goodie, goodie! Joe Banister, CID Agent, has left the IRS to come over to our side! Oh goodie, goodie!" But has he, really? Is he really on your side? Watch out!!!

What has he really done? For one thing, he has written a book about his supposed investigation into the income tax issues. I not only question his motives and integrity, but I also question how well he actually "investigated" the issues.

Two of the issues his book promotes, as if they are legally valid, are:

  1. An individual is not required to file tax returns because by doing so, the individual waives his Fifth Amendment rights.

  2. An individual is not required to file tax returns because the Sixteenth Amendment was never properly ratified.

  3. It is my firm belief that any CID agent knows, or at least should know, that these arguments are legally flawed and that they have failed non-filers in criminal cases over and over again for many, many years.

As far back as 1986, in my first book, The Best Kept Secret, "Taxpayer" v. Nontaxpayer", I explained in very simple terms just why these arguments should not be used as an excuse for not filing tax returns. Yet, various promoters have continued to promote such arguments and now Banister has essentially "teamed up" with these promoters. What are Banisters real motives? Are they to entrap more and more non-filers into believing legally flawed arguments in order to set them up as easy targets for government prosecutors? See the article Who Are You Going to Trust? on my web site at .

Let me give you an example of the Fifth Amendment issue found in Banisters book that causes me to question his motives and integrity. In his book, at page 6, Banister shows a letter apparently written by Bill Conklin as a news release. (I think you'll see where Conklin and Banister have the Fifth Amendment issue so convoluted it is no wonder why the average non-filer never figures out what is really going on.)

The first part of Conklins letter discusses the Fifth Amendment issue as if it is an excuse for not filing tax returns. In the last part of the letter, Bill Conklin states:

I have won six published wins against the IRS on my case alone. The cites are:

LETTER MISLEADING: This letter would lead the reader to believe that Conklin actually won these cases, and that he won them based upon his Fifth Amendment argument. I submit that none of these cases actually involved the Fifth Amendment. In none of these cases was anything ever used against an individual in a criminal case. In none of these cases was any individual ever forced to provide any information that would tend to incriminate him.

WHERE ARE THESE PURPORTED WINS? I challenge anyone to find in these cases where Conklin won anything of substance. Even in the cases that were reversed and remanded back to the district court, either Conklin or Tavery eventually lost their case. Except where Conklin obtained the $30 as a witness fee for witnessing in response to a summons, I submit that the appellate court eventually ruled against Conklin and/or Tavery in every other case. (I dont see people lining up for an IRS audit just to collect a $30 witness fee, so I do not consider that accomplishment to be anything of real substance.)

As an example of Conklins purported "wins", in Church of World Peace, Inc. v. IRS, 715 F.2d 492 (10th Cir. 1983), Conklin filed an action for declaratory judgment. The federal district court dismissed his case. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal. How can Conklin call this a win?

You can then check them out for yourself. Send $20 cash to Otto Skinner at PO Box 6609, San Pedro, California 90734, and I will send you a copy of the six cases listed above, plus Tavery v. U.S., 32 F.3d 1423 (10th Cir. 1994) discussed below. I think you will find in these cases that the financial information was supplied to the IRS and the deficiencies were paid. So what, if anything, of value was actually won by Conklin or Tavery? In my opinion, nothing.

Conklin had gone to the government and obtained a government granted privilege of operating the "church" (TWP) as a 501(c) tax exempt organization. Conklin and Tavery had both filed tax returns. None of the cases listed above stand for or support the proposition that the Fifth Amendment provides an excuse for not filing a tax return.

HOW ONE CAN FILE A 1040 FORM WITHOUT WAIVING HIS FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS? While we are on this issue, I will tell you how an individual can file a 1040 form without waiving his Fifth Amendment rights. It is really quite simple.

Lets use a fictitious Suzie Que as an example. Suzie has never done anything wrong. She hasnt so much as run a stop sign. Suzie is 22 years old. She is a legal secretary. She earned $27,000 in 1998. Can she put her age, occupation and the amount she earned in 1998 on a 1040 form and mail it to the IRS on March 30, 1999, without waiving her Fifth Amendment rights? Of course she can. There is nothing here that would tend to incriminate Suzie. The Fifth Amendment protects an individual from being forced to provide information that would tend to incriminate him.

By providing the information above, Suzie has provided nothing that would even furnish a link in a chain of evidence needed to prosecute her for a crime. If no such link is furnished, it is not a waiver of Fifth Amendment rights. This principle has been around for a long time. See U.S. v. Neff, 615 F.2d 1235, 1939 (9th Cir. 1980) wherein the court quotes Hashagen v. U.S., 283 F.2d 345, 349 (9th Cir. 1960).

If Suzie had robbed a bank, she would not be required to put that information on a tax return. But if you know Suzie like I know Suzie, you know that Suzie would never rob a bank.

There is, however, a time and place for a non-filer to utilize the Fifth Amendment. This issue is more complex and is discussed in my books and in the past issues of Nontaxpayers United Newsletter. See newsletter list

Now lets get back to Banisters book. On page 8, he states:

In order to understand Conklins victory, .

Two paragraphs down, he states:

Conklins victories focused my attention on the fact that American taxpayers, without realizing it, apparently waive their 5th Amendment rights every time they submit information on their federal tax returns.

What Victory? What Victories? I believe that what should be apparent to any CID agent, is that the Fifth Amendment argument as an excuse for not filing tax returns has been failing individuals since long before 1980.

On page 10, Banister discusses another Conklin case (not one of the cases listed above) where Conklin had filed unsigned returns and was hit with a $500 penalty for filing a frivolous return. (Study 26 U.S.C. 7602 and you will understand the reason for the $500 penalty.) Banister states:

Conklin even gave the Internal Revenue Service a power of attorney to sign the returns for him if they could do so without waiving his 5th Amendment rights.

This may sound impressive, but I do not believe any IRS person has the authority to sign a return that an individual submits; with or without a power of attorney. (In my opinion, to expect an IRS person to sign such a document is down right stupid.)

Banister goes on to say that Conklin sued in federal court, and that Judge Nottingham eventually ruled against him. This Conklin loss is apparently supposed to mean that Conklin proved his Fifth Amendment argument. Is the reader supposed to believe that a loss is a win? That a loss is a victory? I dont know about you, but I am sick and tired of double speak within the patriot community.

In his book, Banister refers to Bill Conklins book, Why No One Is Required to File Tax Returns. At page 38 of this book, Conklin is discussing Tavery v. United States, 32 F.3d 1423 (10th Cir. 1994). Tavery (Conklins spouse) was arguing that information on her tax return should not have been used in Conklins contempt of court case regarding his eligibility for appointment of counsel. Both the district court and the appellate court ruled against her.

Still at page 38, Conklin states:

It is clear in this particular situation that Ms. Tavery waived her Fifth Amendment protected rights when she filed the tax return and disclosed the information that the government allowed into evidence. Could the government have used Ms. Taverys tax return information against her if she had been compelled to submit it? Of course not, if the Fifth Amendment means anything.

Good grief! What kind of sophistry is this? The Fifth Amendment states:

No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, .

This means that no person can be required to provide evidence that would tend to incriminate him, and which could be used against him in a criminal case.

Hello. Anybody home? The information was used against Tavery in a civil case and not a criminal case. No information was being used against anyone in a criminal case. Certainly no information was being used against Tavery in any criminal case. And providing she had not supplied false information on her return, or supplied any self-incriminating evidence of some other kind of criminal act, she had not incriminated herself. Since she did not supply information that would tend to incriminate her, she did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights, contrary to what Conklin claims.

At page 31 of his book, Conklin states:

I am a Communication Expert and have made an extensive study of the morpho-syntax of English. I have a Masters Degree >from the University of Colorado in Communications and I have over fourteen years of experience teaching English and Communications at the elementary, junior-high, high school, and college levels.

Give me a break! Does Conklin not understand the difference between a civil case and a criminal case? Does he not understand the difference between incriminating evidence and information that is not incriminating? (Maybe I should be glad that I only have a Bachelor of Science degree and actually struggled with English, my one and only language.)

I know a lot of people have been led to believe in this Fifth Amendment argument. But these people do not bother to actually study the cases upon which the promoters supposedly rely. By simply believing what someone says a case says has landed a lot of people in jail. Most of these promoters are quite clever at leading people down a primrose path to legally invalid conclusions.

Who are some of the other people who have not only promoted the same kind of flawed information about the Fifth Amendment that Conklin has, but who are also promoting Joe Banister as if he is a wonderful addition to the freedom movement?

Well, Irwin Schiff is one of these people. I personally believe that Schiff has very cleverly led his readers down the primrose path to legally flawed arguments on at least 16 different issues. The flaws in all but one of these arguments are covered in my books and newsletters.

Other people who are promoting Banister and his issues include Free Enterprise Society of Fresno, California (FES), and a guy named Peyman. It is my understanding that Peyman is charging people $140 to take a class wherein he "teaches" Bill Conklins material. Good grief! For that kind of money, a person can get all three of my books and have $55 left over for a really good meal. It is my understanding that Peyman has also charged a sizable amount to take people to Tax Court. To my knowledge, none of these people has won anything. It is also my understanding that Peyman lost his own case in Tax Court. Other than myself, has anyone asked who elected Peyman the "President" of his own self-concocted so-called "Freedom Law School"? Are there really non-filers who are so gullible that they are influenced by such a titles?

There are even attorneys putting out opinion letters claiming that by filing tax returns one is waiving his Fifth Amendment rights. You should ask such an attorney how many non-filer cases, if any, he has won using the Fifth Amendment as a legal argument for an excuse for an individual to not file tax returns. Has any court, in any "failure to file" criminal case that the attorney has been involved in, ever ruled that the Fifth Amendment provides an individual an excuse to not file tax returns? Ask him.

If this argument had any legal validity, it would require a directed verdict in favor of the defendant in every "failure to file" case. I think these attorneys should know that.

THE SIXTEENTH AMENDMENT: As far back as 1986, in my first book, The Best Kept Secret, "Taxpayer" v. Nontaxpayer", I explained in very simple terms just why the argument that the Sixteenth Amendment had not been properly ratified should not be used as an excuse for not filing tax returns. Even before that, people were getting convicted for using this argument in criminal cases. A number of attorneys were, and I guess still are, unsuccessfully using this argument to defend their clients in "failure to file" cases. This issue is briefly discussed in my articles at Who worded the 16th. It is more extensively covered in my books and newsletters.

The reason that the non-ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment does not provide an excuse for not filing tax returns is really very simple. Once you see the reason explained, you will probably wonder why you didnt figure it out for yourself; if you havent already done so. I see no honest, justifiable reason for anyone who has done any research on the issue at all to continue to promote this argument.

I believe the biggest promoters of this legally flawed argument include Banister, the Free Enterprise Society and Bill Benson, along with a few attorneys. What are the real motives of Banister and his buddies?

It appears to me that there is a large group of promoters who are working hand in hand to promote false information to the patriot community. After over 19 years of being a non-filer and studying many, many court cases, I can only conclude that such false information is being purposely perpetrated upon the unsuspecting and often times gullible non-filing individuals.

There is no question in my mind that Banister has teamed up with individuals who have been promoting false information. While I have only touched on small parts of Banisters book, I think I have provided enough information to help the reader start judging this situation for himself.

What you see in this report (message) are my own personal opinions which are based upon my own research and knowledge. It is up to the reader to do his own research and form his own personal opinions.

I would like to know the following:

  1. In how many trials, if any, has Banister testified?

  2. Who were the victims (defendants) in these trials?

  3. Did Banister lie in any of his testimony? (Show me the trial transcripts.)

  4. If so, was he told to lie, or did he make the decision on his own?

  5. If he believes that the victims (defendants) in these trials were wrongfully convicted (based upon his newfound "knowledge"), what is he doing to help those particular victims?

  6. His book does not provide the answers to these questions. Since criminal trials are public records, I dont think he can claim he is forbidden from revealing what is in these public records. I believe that truthful answers to these questions would be much more accurate, more interesting and more informative than his book proved to be.

    A lot of people are going to be unhappy over this message. Thats okay. Some of these promoters were mad at me even when I didnt name names, but just pointed out the legally flawed arguments they were promoting.

    Probably one of the most difficult things for an individual to acknowledge is that he has been hoodwinked. I really do believe that these promoters have hoodwinked a lot of people.

    You can print out and STUDY my special articles from that site. You can review the rest of the information that is available. You can also see what other readers have to say about my material.

    This battle for freedom requires personal responsibility. The freedom and liberty you save may be your own. It is truly your responsibility to learn to separate the accurate material from the inaccurate material. It is truly your responsibility to separate and weed out the people who are promoting false information. I wish you the best.

    Constitutionally yours,

    Otto Skinner is the author of the following three books:

    The Best Kept Secret, "Taxpayer" V. Nontaxpayer" (1986, revised 1996) - $24.95
    If You Are the Defendant (1989, revised 1996) - $24.95
    The Biggest "Tax Loophole" of All (1997) (A 2 pound book.) - $39.95

    Add $5.00 S/H flat rate for all orders. - $  5.00

    Get all three for a total of $84.85 and save $20.00
    as compared to ordering each book separately.

    Order from: Otto Skinner
    PO Box 6609
    San Pedro, CA 90734

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