Saturday, December 4, 2010

Amending IRS tax code would release JFK assassination records

The John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) could not release tax records relating to certain people and businesses associated with the JFK assassination.  But, they did collect them anyway and put them into the collection at Archives II where they await some future date when they will be released.  So, a new investigation is not called for, nor is a fishing expedition.  The records were already collected.  They only need to be released to the public.  Unfortunately, this will require an Act of Congress.  Section 6103 is a federal law that prohibits federal government agencies that possess tax return information from disclosing that information.  I request that an exemption be made so that tax return information relating to individuals and businesses that have some relationship to the assassination of President Kennedy and have already been collected by the ARRB and placed in Archives II. 


These records include both tax returns from the IRS's own files, and earnings and employment information from the files of the Social Security Administration. They include records on Lee Harvey Oswald, Marina Oswald, Jack Ruby, George Sergei deMohrenschieldt, William Guy Bannister, David William Ferrie, Orest Pena, Carlos Bringuier, Carlos Quiroga, Sergio Arcacha-Smith, Antonio Vecciana, William George Gaudet, Albert Alexander Osborne (a.k.a John Howard Bowen), Palmer Edward McBride, and John Thomas Masen, as well as some groups like The Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Directorio Revolutionario Estudiantil (commonly known as the DRE), Operation Alpha-66, Segundo Frente Nacional de Escambray, Junta Revoluncionaria Cubana (commonly known as the "JURE"), Cuban Revolutionary Council (known as the "CRC"), Frente Revolucionario Democratico (known as the "FRE"), and Comandos-L, all of which are directly related to the history of the assassination.

Many of these individuals are deceased and many of these groups and businesses are defunct.  So, claims of protecting an individual's privacy is a moot point. 

The ARRB commented upon the issue in Chapter 5 of their Final Report:

1. Tax Return Information

"The Review Board encountered a wide variety of tax return information in its review of assassination records. Although current federal law prohibits the IRS and other federal agencies from disseminating tax return information, in the 1960s, the IRS often shared its information with law enforcement agencies including the FBI and investigative bodies such as the Warren Commission. The Warren Commission, in particular, collected tax data on many of the individuals that it studied, including Lee Harvey Oswald.

"When Congress was considering the JFK Act, the IRS requested that the JFK Act trump current federal law protecting tax return information and allow the IRS to release tax return records relating to the assassination of the President. Congress refused to allow the IRS, or any other federal agency, to disclose tax return information. Thus, section 11(a) of the JFK Act reads, in relevant part,
    "When this Act requires transmission of a record to the Archivist or public disclosure, it shall take precedence over any other law (except section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code) . . .that would otherwise prohibit such transmission or disclosure. . . .
"Section 6103 is the section of the Internal Revenue Code that prohibits federal government agencies that possess tax return information from disclosing that information.

"While the Review Board understands congressional reluctance to recklessly release the tax return information of American citizens, it is truly unfortunate that the Review Board could not make available to the public the tax return records of Lee Harvey Oswald for the years prior to the assassination. The Review Board received many inquiries from the public requesting that the Board release the Oswald tax returns so that the public could resolve inconsistencies in the data concerning Oswald's earnings. Although the IRS determined that the Review Board necessarily had to review tax return information in order to complete its work, it could not allow the Review Board to disclose tax return information unless Congress granted a specific exemption to the strictures of section 6103.

"Thus, the Review Board recommends that Congress enact legislation exempting Lee Harvey Oswald's tax return information, Oswald employment information obtained by the Social Security Administration, and other tax or IRS related information in the files of the Warren Commission and the HSCA from the protection afforded it by section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, and that such legislation direct that these records be released to the public in the JFK Collection."

Please write to your congressional representatives and ask them to amend Section 6103 of the IRS Tax Code so that these records can be released. 

1 comment:

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