Montana TEA Party Leader Taxed Too Much Already

Apparently, on July 4th we are going to be treated to another round of TEA Party lunacy:

American Family Association has Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party rallies scheduled in 1,145 cities for July 4. The family organization is opposed to the spending policies promoted by President Obama. Such policies call for record spending and deficits.

“Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying the bill for President Obama’s reckless spending spree,” said AFA Chairman Donald E. Wildmon. “Our national debt is already a trillion dollars, and the president is planning to spend trillions more. It is a crime and a sin to place this heavy debt on our children,” he stated.

For many of the protesters, these TEA Party efforts stem from ideology and partisanship, while for others they just might stem from more personal reasons … such as owing the IRS $13,000:

A Bozeman political activist who persistently calls for the government to lower taxes had amassed an income tax debt of almost $13,000 before a bankruptcy judge relieved him of much of that burden, court records show.

Henry Kriegel, a radio talk show host and president of Montanans for Tax Reform, owed the Internal Revenue Service $10,326 in taxes, interest and penalties from taxes levied on him in 2003, the documents show. Last month, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Kirscher ordered the IRS to relieve Kriegel of the debt as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed by Kriegel earlier this year. Kirscher also ordered Kriegel to pay the IRS $2,547 in taxes and penalties from 2007.

Kriegel was at the forefront of the tax day tea party protest held April 15 in Bozeman, and he is helping to organize a subsequent protest planned for July 4 n demonstrations that protest high government spending, the growing national debt and taxes.

Kriegel has been an ardent critic of the U.S. tax code. Montanans for Tax Reform advertises itself as being “about smaller government, less taxes and keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.” Since 2002, the group has sponsored the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise to oppose tax increases that is signed by legislators and candidates for office.

He has a contract with Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform to lead monthly meetings of state and local taxpayer groups, social conservative groups, business groups and legislators to promote limited government policies.

While it may be ironic that it was the tax-payer-funded federal court system that wiped out an estimated $6,000 of Kriegel’s debt to the IRS, he’s not about to let that stop his anti-tax activism: 

Kriegel said his own history with taxes did not dissuade him from speaking out publicly about the tax code.

“I don’t believe that disqualifies me from speaking out on the issues I believe in,” he said. “I could have taken the choice of cowering in the darkness or I could choose to speak out against the largest issues of our time.”

“Taxes are too high. Government is too large,” he said.

He said the tax day tea party and upcoming demonstration had little to do with taxes, saying the focus of the demonstrations is high government spending and the growing national debt.

And, he said, he plans to continue his activism.

“The tea party movement is much bigger than me. I don’t plan on backing down. I don’t plan on backing down at all,” he said.

Considering that the acronym “TEA” in the name stands for “taxed enough already,” the idea that these protest aren’t about taxes is laughable … but not as laughable as the fact that a man who owed the IRS $13,000 in taxes and penalties is contracted to Grover Norquist’s organization and leading local TEA Party efforts.