News Articles About R. B. Clarkson

Clarkson Invites IRS to Tea Party

Recipe for a Tea Party

Clarkson arrested for
picketing IRS

Tea Party

The Greenville News

ANDERSON - More than 250 miles from the nearest harbor and without an Indian in sight, Robert B. Clarkson held his own version of the Boston Tea Party at his Concord Avenue residence Monday afternoon.
     Sipping sassafras tea and boasting of harassing the Internal Revenue Service, the Anderson Resident - a "Tax Rebel!" button pinned top his lapel - succeeded in cutting a planned IRS audit of his financial records to less than a minute.
     "We took control of the situation, which is a move right out of the IRS manual," Clarkson said as a stunned IRS agent drove off from the bizarre scene, all pre-arranged by Clarkson.
     "This was all just to make it tough on them...the way they normally make it for the person being audited.
     Audit Becomes Fiasco
A member of the anti-tax oriented Carolina Patriots, the local resident and a man he called an "unidentified witness" turned what began as a routine audit into a fiasco that could have found a home amid the pages of the National Lampoon.
     Clarkson, sipping hot tea symbolic of the Boston tax rebellion 200 years ago, first asked the auditor to sit on a "quite uncomfortable" plywood box while Clarkson and his witness sat in "nice comfortable" chairs. The chairs were arranged around a small round table in Clarkson's driveway. The auditor's chair was placed so it faced directly into the sun.
     Once the IRS agent arrived, Clarkson and the witness asked her to join them in a brief prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag taped to a 2-foot long board.
     "We thought we should open with a prayer and a Pledge," Clarkson said. "This is only right because we are true patriots."
     Clarkson then informed the agent that he was going to tape-record the audit interview. The agent said she could not allow that without first getting the approval of her superiors and turned to leave.
     As she walked quickly away to her car, Clarkson followed closely behind, rapidly snapping her picture.
     Smiling broadly as the agent drove away, Clarkson stood by his car, its bumper festooned with stickers reading: "Rebellion to Tyranny is Obedience To God" and "Down With Taxes" He seemed pleased with the performance.
     "Here we are fighting for the same freedoms our forefathers fought for in 1776," he said.
     Clarkson's ongoing battle with the IRS has recently incurred scrutiny of its agents, apparently leading to Monday's audit attempt.
     The former Sumter attorney says that he has not paid federal income taxes since 1976, and says federal officials contend he owes the government $9,000.
     On his 1978 tax return, Clarkson typed "Objection: Fifth Amendment" instead of information the IRS was looking for.
     "I think people ought to pay taxes," he said. "But I also think people have the right to remain silent if they choose to do so"
     "And I don't think the government has the right to invade people's privacy like they do on these forms."
     Clarkson contends that his "Fifth Amendment" return is legal, but the IRS has other ideas.
     An IRS spokesman in Columbia said the agency receives about 7,000 "protest returns" similar to Clarkson's every year.
     State RS officials said they are used top all sorts of protest moves from disgruntled taxpayers.
     Some people send in their shirts (the ones off their back) instead of monetary payment and the agency occasionally gets a return that has been ripped into small pieces.
     However, the officials said Clarkson's "tea party" may be a first for the state.
     "I've never heard of anything like this," one IRS official said. "It may have happened in some other places, but if it did we didn't hear about it.
     Clarkson's action Monday is the latest in a series of skirmishes he has had with the IRS. At a Carolina Patriots meeting in Anderson last spring, Clarkson is alleged to have confronted one of several IRS agents in attendance and "called him a scum 25 times to his face."
     The former attorney said he has also filed nine lawsuits against the IRS, all of them centering on the issues of invasion of privacy and freedom of information.
     Clarkson was Executive Director of the state Libertarian Party from 1975 to 1978.
     "In the long run if more and more people stand up, we can remove the tyranny and Gestapo-type methods from the IRS." Clarkson said.
     Asked what he now does for a living, Clarkson reflected for a moment and then shot back: "I lecture, I write and I hassle the Internal Revenue Service.

Would you like to have your own Boston tea party? Click here for recipe

Clarkson arrested for picketing

Greenville officials consider change in picketing ordinance

By Matthew Burns
News staff writer

The city of Greenville is considering amending its ordinance on picketing to allow small groups to demonstrate without a permit, and an Anderson man said the change is part of a settlement of his suit against the city over his arrest in 1982 for picketing.

The proposed amendment would clarify an ordinance that was drafted decades ago, City Attorney Steve Kern said Friday. He said the current ordinance makes no distinction between a demonstration, a parade or a festival such as Fall for Greenville, while an amended version would define various instances in which a permit would or would not be necessary.

"That (ordinance) is a really old thing, and we've been processing too many permits because it's not really clear, Kern said. "We need to differentiate activities that would disrupt traffic and those that are just First Amendment cases.

Kern said the proposed amendment will not be brought before City Council for another month or two because some points still need to be worked out. He said city officials are considering whether to put a cap on the size of a group that can picket without a permit.

"Sometimes you have to require a permit for large demonstrations just to alert the police that there might be some conflict with opposing groups, Kern said. "There's no question that (the picketers) would get the permit. Requiring it would just provide for the protection of the participants and the public by giving the police some advance notice.

Robert Clarkson, a tax protester from Anderson, said Friday the amended ordinance was part of an out-of-court settlement reached last month in his suit against the city. The settlement also included the city paying Clarkson $4,500 in damages and legal fees.

The suit was a result of Clarkson's arrest in 1982 while part of a two-man picket on the Coffee Street Mall outside the Internal Revenue Service office. Police charged Clarkson with failure to obtain a permit required for a procession, but Clarkson said the U.S. Constitution and another city ordinance granted him the right to protest publicly.

"We weren't parading and stopping traffic; it was just two of us outside the IRS office with placards, Clarkson said. "The people of Greenville have been denied access to hearing views declared publicly (because of the ordinance).

Kern said the city routinely reviews ordinances to see if they need to be updated and was considering amending the picketing ordinance anyway, but he acknowledged Clarkson's suit forced officials to look at changing it sooner.

Robert Clarkson 864-225-3061    email Nelson Waller 864-225-0882



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