By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
More ominously, the IRS was on his tail for non-payment of taxes.
"They said I owed 'em $30,000, $40,000, something like that," he says in an account confirmed by two others who knew him at the time.
The IRS went after some of his wages--"They stole my income," as he puts it--and he found himself getting deeper in the hole.
"I didn't have the money, so I didn't file," he says. "I didn't hear from them for seven years...Then I met some people who had been involved with various groups that had done research and found out that the IRS is illegal. It's a fraud. I found out I never owed them any money in the first place."
One of the groups Enloe was referring to is Citizens for Legal Reform, formed in 1990 by a former roofer named Alfred Adask who became embittered with the legal system during a nasty divorce. Since 1990, the group has been a sort of right-leaning clubhouse for tax protectors, The Liberty Lobby, the John Birch Society, Libertarians, you name it, with Adask running unsuccessfully for various offices on the Libertarian ticket. Adask, whose magazine, AntiShyster, is dedicated to "raising hell for lawyers," is just the latest figure in Dallas' storied history of playing host to rightist fringe causes.
Loosely knit, these groups seem to feed off the same ideological buffet table: fear of gun control and income taxes; a reverence for the gold standard; and weird fantasies about banking conspiracies, One World government, and domestic concentration camps run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The concept of off-the-grid courts rooted in the Magna Carta and English common law; tortured law-book references that purport to nullify statutory laws and everything from the IRS, to traffic laws, to building codes; a profound contempt for the courts and lawyers--these are all ideas Citizens for Legal Reform was tossing around years before militias and freemen began showing up on the 10 o'clock news.
Nearly everyone active locally in the Republic of Texas got their feet wet in Adask's group, Enloe says, including him and his mother.
"A guy in Citizens for Legal Reform had a videotape by a Utah organization called The IRS Exposed," Enloe recalls of his first encounter with the group. "I started buying more books."
Beginning in 1992, when he attended his first meeting of Adask's group, Enloe began his transformation from someone who "didn't think about politics at all" to a man who embraces just about every wild-eyed conspiracy theory and every feature on the ultra-right landscape.
He ticks them off as Irene's Buick eats up the West Texas miles:
*There is a "secret 13th amendment," not the 13th amendment that abolished slavery, but another one that makes it illegal for lawyers to hold public office.
*The gold-fringed American flag seen in most courtrooms signifies that the court is operating under "admiralty law," not civil law, rendering the courts unqualified to hear civilian cases.
*When a government agency prints a person's name in capital letters, it is referring to a "corporate" individual, not the actual person. People's true names are spelled with capital and lower-case letters. The Enloes claim theirs include a comma between first and last names, a detail they cite while refusing to answer summonses.
*The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City two years ago was carried out by federal agents looking to discredit the militia movement. As its corollary, the FBI deliberately set the deadly fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco two years earlier, Enloe claims.
*The IRS is illegitimate and lacks authority to collect taxes for a number of reasons, among them: It is only authorized to operate in Puerto Rico. It can only collect taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. There is no proof that the agency was ever established by Congress, or that authority was delegated to it by the Treasury Department. The agency needs a person's agreement before it can levy taxes. "I have the United States code on CD-ROM. I'll pull it out and show you," Enloe says.
(For those of you who might want to believe this, Fannie Smith, an IRS spokeswoman in the Dallas regional office, says her agency doesn't believe in conscientious objectors. "Taxpayers who fail to file tax returns, file incomplete returns, or refuse to pay their taxes by claiming constitutional, religious, or moral grounds or the lack of a gold and silver standard face strict civil and criminal penalties." She points to the case of LeRoy Schweitzer, head of the Freemen of Montana, who held off federal authorities for 81 days before surrendering last summer. He was tried and found guilty in September of failing to file tax returns and is awaiting sentencing.)
*President Franklin Roosevelt took the United States' currency off the gold standard in 1933 so "a small group of bankers" and a secret society known as the Illuminati could "control everyone."
These weren't study points on Irene Enloe's lesson plans in her years of teaching the "three R's" to first-, second-, and third-graders in rural Texas.
"Things were quite a bit different back then; we had prayer in the classroom, we felt the police were out to protect us, we loved the president," she says, adjusting her designer sunglasses.