Posts tagged: Phil Hart
The great thing about the United States is that voters have the last word. And that should give many Idaho GOP candidates pause. Think of the sinking feeling that Rep. Phil Hart (pictured), the timber thief and tax cheat from North Idaho, must have felt as this year’s primary approached. No amount of help from GOP bosses could stop voters from holding him to account. No amount of help can save flawed candidates like District 10’s Brandon Hixon of Canyon County. You would think with all the ethics problems in the GOP, they would be concerned about how their candidates behave. Former Sen. John McGee was a punch line for the rest of the state, but in Canyon County he was a punch in the gut/Chairman Larry Grant, Idaho Democratic Party. More here.
Question: Who is the worst candidate, either major party, running for the Idaho Legislature this fall?
State lawmaker and tax protester Rep. Phil Hart has filed for bankruptcy — again — prompting a federal tax foreclosure case against him to be put on hold. Hart filed for bankruptcy in Idaho's U.S. District Court on Wednesday, almost two months after he voluntarily dropped his previous bankruptcy case. Hart, a Republican from Athol who lost his bid for a fifth term in the Idaho House in the May primary election, stopped filing federal income tax returns in 1996 while he unsuccessfully pursued a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal income tax. He lost that lawsuit, and the Internal Revenue Service is seeking to collect more than half a million dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest, partly by foreclosing on his log home/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: I'm starting to believe that our Artful Tax Dodger is trying to outlast the IRS and Idaho Tax Commission. What do you think?
At the Lewiston Tribune, opinionator Marty Trillhaase offers weekly Cheers & Jeers column:
CHEERS … to the Idaho Supreme Court. First it told scofflaw Hart to pay the $53,000 in back taxes he owes the state. That says nothing of the nearly $500,000 Hart owes the feds. Next, the Supreme Court said he wasn't entitled to preferential treatment. Now it has told him to cough up another $10,000 for wasting everybody's time with such a frivolous claim. The attorney general's office sought the payment to cover what it cost to take Hart into court. Just one question for the Idaho justices:What makes you think he's going to pay?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Marty Trillhaase brings up a good point. When does state Rep. Phil Hart have to begin paying back overdue taxes? Is the Supreme Court ruling merely a suggestion? Or does it have teeth?
Tax protesting lawmaker Phil Hart has been ordered to pay the state more than $10,000 in legal fees and costs stemming from his tussle with the Idaho State Tax Commission. The decision was handed down by the Idaho Supreme Court Tuesday. The Republican Representative from Athol was ordered to pay $9,960 in attorney fees and another $168 in costs to cover the commission's tab in the case. In June, the high court dismissed Hart's last-ditch request to consider his state income tax appeal/Associated Press. More here.
Federal authorities are gearing back up for their foreclosure lawsuit against tax-protesting Idaho Rep. Phil Hart, now that Hart’s voluntarily dismissed his bankruptcy filing — which had placed an automatic stay on the foreclosure case. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has lifted the stay in the case that goes after Hart’s log home in Athol, but at Hart’s request, agreed to a delay until mid-November for the first discovery deadlines in the case, due to the unexpected illness of Hart’s Kentucky attorney. U.S. Justice Department lawyers had asked for a deadline a month earlier/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Federal prosecutors are calling for Idaho Rep. Phil Hart’s proposed bankruptcy plan to be dismissed, saying it’s improper, it wouldn’t appropriately satisfy his half-million-dollar federal income tax debt, and it relies on an income source that will disappear at the end of this year: His legislative salary. Hart, a tax protester and fourth-term state lawmaker, was defeated in the May GOP primary, so his legislative salary will end in December. “Hart’s plan is not feasible,” wrote U.S. Department of Justice attorney Adam Strait in court documents. Hart had proposed paying $200 a month for five years - a total of $12,000 - to get his entire debt of more than $600,000 discharged. Most of that debt is to the IRS; it also includes more than $50,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, and $22,000 in credit card debt/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Question: Do you think the feds will ever get Hart to pay up?
Five Idaho lawmakers attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual conference in Salt Lake City last week, but only two – Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and outgoing Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol – went at state expense. The others either traveled at their own expense or got scholarships from ALEC, a group that brings together business interests and state lawmakers to work on policy issues. “This was the only way that I could attend,” Barbieri said, “so I asked the speaker and he approved it.” House Speaker Lawerence Denney also approved state payment for Hart’s trip to the conference. House chief fiscal officer Terri Franks-Smith said several House members typically attend the ALEC conference each year, some at state expense. “I’ve known over the years it to happen both ways,” she said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Phil Hart, the lame-duck representative from House District 2, is shown handing out flags at a Fourth of July Parade in Coeur d'Alene prior to this year. Opinionator Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman criticizes House Speaker Lawerence Denney for approving tax dollars to send Hart to the national an American Legislative Exchange Council conference in Salt Lake City. You can read Kevin's column here.
Question: Are you starting to wonder about House Speaker Lawerence Denney's judgment, too?
More Info: Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart refused to answer many questions about his finances in a meeting Friday with creditors in his bankruptcy case. An attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and another representing the Idaho State Tax Commission grilled Hart about his business interests, income, assets and debts during a meeting conducted by the trustee in Hart’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Hart, a longtime tax protester who owes the IRS more than $550,000 and the state more than $50,000, said he thought many of the questions – including ones about corporations he helped set up and about the Athol house he lives in – were inappropriate or irrelevant to his bankruptcy filing. He repeatedly responded, “I decline to answer.” Refusing to answer such questions is highly unusual in such a meeting, said Ford Elsaesser, a Sandpoint lawyer representing the trustee in the case. (SR file photo of Phil Hart)
Question: What do you think was Hart's strategy re: not answering questions?
State Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, who was KO’d in the GOP primary during his ongoing battle with the IRS and Idaho Tax Commission over $600,000 in unpaid income taxes, remains unbowed. On the morning of the Fourth of July, Hart joined in the reading of the Declaration of Independence at Independence Point in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The event was advertised by the Kootenai County Republicans, who are standing by their man, even as Hart files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. Not quite as impressed were two Huckleberries Online blog wags, pseudonymed Ron Burgundy and Eddie Torreal. Ron: “The only document this sunshine patriot should be reading is the receipt indicating he has finally paid his taxes that all the other true patriots in his country have already paid.” Eddie: “I would rather hear him read the penalty section of the IRS code.” Tough crowd/DFO, Huckleberries print. More here.
Question: When did you last read the Declaration of Independence or some other historic U.S. document?
The IRS, Idaho Tax Commission and House District 2 voters may have turned against controversial state Rep. Phil Hart. But the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee still has his back. In an email circulated to local Republicans, county GOP secretary Sheila Waller encouraged partisans to join Hart for a public reading of the Declaration of Independence at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Independence Point. Waller told those on her email list that the reading will be complete by 10 a.m., an hour ahead of the Fourth of July Parade on Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d'Alene. See flyer here. (AP file photo: Ben Gates (actor Nicolas Cage) stealing Declaration of Independence in movie “National Treasure”)
Question: When did you last read the Declaration of Independence?
When the state of Idaho made out its paychecks for tax-protesting state Rep. Phil Hart twice a month for the past seven years, the money didn’t go to Hart - it went straight to the IRS. That’s what Hart reported in documents filed this week in his bankruptcy case, in which he lists more than $600,000 in debt, most of it to the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission. In his supporting documents seeking a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization, Hart reported, “100 percent of Legislative pay garnished since 2005, $16,000 annually.” Bruce Newcomb, who was Idaho’s longest-serving House speaker, said he was troubled by the revelation. “Let’s put it this way: I find it very odd,” he said. “A person has a right to protest their taxes. But this has been one of the more extreme endeavors I’ve ever seen in my life’s experience”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to reconsider its dismissal of his state income tax appeal, saying the court should have given more consideration to his legislative privilege argument. Hart appealed an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, but filed his appeal months after the 91-day appeal period had expired. He argued that because an Idaho legislative session fell just after the appeal period, his status as a lawmaker should entitle him to more time to file. The Idaho Supreme Court strongly disagreed, writing in its unanimous decision in April, “In this instance, Hart is just a taxpayer, with no greater privilege than his constituents”/Betsy Z. Russell, SR. More here.
Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, who lost his bid for a fifth term in the GOP primary two weeks ago, has filed for bankruptcy. In Hart’s petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, he lists just three creditors: The IRS, the Idaho State Tax Commission, and Anderson & Krieger, a construction defect law firm in Sacramento, Calif. Hart also is facing a foreclosure lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department seeking to foreclose on his Athol home for more than $500,000 in back federal income taxes, penalties and interest, and a state order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest. Michael McFarland, Hart’s Coeur d’Alene attorney in the bankruptcy proceeding, said, “I’m really not in a position to discuss details”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: bankruptcy document here.
Former congressman Bill Sali's appearance in North Idaho on behalf of Rep. Phil Hart and District 3 challenger Ron Mendive is being advertised at the Coeur d'Alene Press Online.
Former Idaho Congressman Bill Sali, famous for introducing legislation in the U.S. House to suspend the law of gravity in a bid to highlight his opposition to the minimum wage, will pitch for tax-protesting Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, at a $25-a-head fundraiser in Coeur d'Alene this week, as Hart heads into a hard-fought four-way GOP primary next Tuesday in his bid for a fifth term in the Idaho House. The fundraiser, according to an ad placed on the Coeur d'Alene Press website by Hart's campaign and shown here, also will benefit GOP House candidate Ron Mendive of Coeur d'Alene, who faces fellow Republican Jeff Tyler of Post Falls on Tuesday for the open House seat formerly held by Bob Nonini/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Is Sali respected enough in Far Right circles to win support for Hart?
Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart paid $1,000 in campaign funds in 2011 to Coeur d’Alene attorney Starr Kelso, who’s representing him in his ongoing fight against back state income taxes; Hart lost his tax appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court last week. But Hart said the payment was for helping him defend against a series of House ethics complaints. The fourth-term lawmaker faced ethics complaints over his tax fight and an illegal state timber harvest; Kelso represented Hart at two House Ethics Committee hearings in Boise in 2010 and submitted documents on his behalf. Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said, “There’s nothing prohibiting that.” Campaign funds can be used for anything “related to being a holder of public office,” he said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
(Phil) Hart's primary opponents include Ron Vieselmeyer, 71, an outspoken Christian conservative, ordained minister, former state lawmaker and current North Idaho College trustee; longtime Hayden real estate appraiser Ed Morse; and local firefighter Fritz Wiedenhoff. The winner of the four-way race will face Democrat Dan English in November. Vieselmeyer said issues aren’t as much at stake in this year’s race as people. “It’s either somebody else wins and represents them, or they continue to have Phil Hart representing them,” he said. “And that’s been an uncomfortable situation for a lot of people”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
DFO: I've been trying to figure out how former legislator Ron Vieselmeyer will affect this race. He attracts the same conservative crowd as Hart. Meanwhile, Reagan Republicans have endorsed Ed Morse. I view this as a three-man race with Fritz Wiedenhoff finishing a distant fourth.
Question: Will Ron Vieselmeyer pull votes away from Hart or Morse?
A unanimous Idaho Supreme Court has rejected state Rep. Phil Hart's appeal of an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest on grounds of legislative privilege; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com. In a seven-page opinion authored by Justice Jim Jones, the unanimous court held that the Idaho Constitution's legislative privilege clause from arrest or “civil process” during legislative sessions didn't protect Hart, or permit him to file his state tax appeal months later than anyone else would have been allowed to. “Hart's untenable argument flows from his misunderstanding of the word 'process,'” Jones wrote/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
I've been curious re: the relationship between state Rep. Phil Hart (pictured), R-Athol, and sheriff's candidate John Green for some time. It has been mentioned here that Green, an attorney for the past two decades, has represented Hart in some capacity over the years. Hart, of course, is embroiled in an income tax fight with both the IRS and Idaho Tax Commission, a fight that will end up in court the day before the general election and could cost him his home. Huckleberries Online has found a link that shows John O'Neill Green of Houston, Texas, was one of the Tax Attorneys who signed on to a full-page ad in the 2008 GOPrimary. The ad includes this statement: “t has been our pleasure to work with your State Representative, Phil Hart. Our relationship withPhil came about when we were exposed to his book Constitutional Income. That book tears away the veil of obscurity covering the 16thAmendment's true nature and scope, by placing the Income Tax Amendment in its proper historical contest — shredding decades of misinformation and misunderstanding. Phil illuminates a rich historical record that sets thefoundation for any serious discussion of federalincome tax law and policy.” Full ad here.
At the Tea Party speed-date event at the Greyhound Park Wednesday night, state Rep. Phil Hart emphasizes a point while opponents for his House Seat 2B seat listen. They are (from left): Fritz Wiedenhoff, Ed Morse, Hart, and Ron Vieselmeyer.
A Berry Picker reports: There seemed to be a pretty good crowd at the Greyhound Events Center when we got there at 5:20 or so. Walked in & was immediately greeted by Luke Malek who was holding the door open for folks entering the venue. There were lots of other people offering flyers and talking point cards of their candidates in the entryway. The Recall booth was located just passed the bar (!) and next to the booth where people could register to vote. We were approached to sign the Recall petition several times and we declined, politely. More below.