Hunger Strike Ends for Tax Protester

Texas tax protester Gene Chapman ended his 40-day hunger strike on Saturday after deciding he could better further his cause by embarking on a cross-country trek to Washington D.C., teaching people his ideas about freedom from taxation along the way.

Dressed much of the time in an Indian garment much like that worn by Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Chapman lost 55 pounds during his fast, all the while waiting for a satisfactory response from the IRS to one question: "Where is my tax liability in the law?"

"I want to pay any tax I owe," Mr. Chapman declared during his fast, but added, "I can't find a law that says I owe a tax."

Mr. Chapman received a response from the IRS explaining that although the U.S. income tax system is voluntary, it is mandated by Congress and supported by the courts. The letter also states that, "The payment of income taxes is not optional and the average citizen knows that the payment of income taxes is legally required."

In addition, Mr. Chapman received responses to his inquiry from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX), both of whom explained in detail how Congress authorizes the Department of Treasury to collect income taxes.

Mr. Chapman claims he decided to end his hunger strike, which began on April 15, when he realized that his strike went against two principles taught by Gandhi, those being that one should not fast against those who do not love us, and that one should not fast against those who think they are in the right.

Once Mr. Chapman regains his strength, he plans to begin his march to Washington, stopping in towns along the way to "teach people about freedom."

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