Amendment E Puff Piece in the Capitol Journal

I knew when I woke up this morning that I needed to read a poorly researched puff piece on Amendment E. Lo and behold, that's exectly what was waiting for me when I picked up today's Pierre Capitol Journal.

It looks like reporter Chuck Clement spent some time being spoon fed information by Bill Stegmeier. But after he'd been fed, he might have been sleepy, since he didn't bother to check the facts. Or seek comment from those who might have a differing opinion.

Here's just a taste of the sweetness and light he was being fed on Amendment E:
Stegmeier, the owner of a business that manufactures livestock feed processing equipment, said he has never been taken to court for anything beyond a traffic violation.

He became interested in promoting judicial responsibility after attending a trial in Fort Worth, Texas, in which a business owner was prosecuted for refusing to withhold taxes from his employees' pay. Stegmeier said the Fort Worth businessman wanted to have his employees file their own income taxes, similar to how the self-employed handle their tax payments.

During the trial, Stegmeier said the judge struck down evidence the defendant wanted to present in court and also told the jury to find the man guilty before they deliberated.
Yes, Bill's never been to court for anything beyond a traffic violation. Except for that whole not paying your sales tax thing that he still owes nearly $7000 for:
Bill Stegmeier, the Tea businessman promoting a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow people to sue judges and other government officials, still owes nearly $7,000 in interest from a tax collection case that is nearly 20 years old, a state lawyer said Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Max Gors of Pierre had asked whether the South Dakota Revenue Department's case against Stegmeier should be dismissed because nothing had happened in the civil case for a long time.

But after a brief hearing Wednesday, Gors granted the Revenue Department's request to keep the case open.
Read it all here. And that poor, poor friend who got such unfair treatment in court because he "wanted to have his employees file their own income taxes, similar to how the self-employed handle their tax payments." Well, that poor friend was none other than his professed best friend Richard Simkanin. I've blogged on it before:

Wikipedia has an entry for him which says
"Richard Michael Simkanin is a tax protester convicted in United States federal court of tax evasion in 2004. Simkanin had appeared in an advertisement in USA Today in which he announced that he had not withheld income taxes from the paychecks of his company's employees because he believed the income tax to be voluntary. Simkanin was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison."
What did he do that was so bad? Well, the U.S. Department of Justice has this so say about Bill Stegmeier's best friend:
During trial, government witnesses testified that Simkanin's bookkeeper and two members of the accounting firm who prepared company tax returns for Arrow Custom Plastics, all told Simkanin that was unlawful to refuse to collect taxes from the wages of his employees. Simkanin was also given sections of Internal Revenue Code that mandated the collection of these taxes. Simkanin told one of his accountants that as a "Free Man," he was not obligated to pay taxes or collect the taxes of his employees. In March 2000, his accounting firm quit after it was unsuccessful in persuading Simkanin to reconsider and collect the employee taxes.
If this person is Stegmeier's best friend, one could understand why Bill is not a big fan of judges. Because the judge in this case absolutely kicked his friend's ass for nonsense such as:
Besides calling Simkanin as a witness, the defense called Joseph Banister, a former IRS Criminal Investigator, who now claims there is no law mandating income taxes, Larkin Rose, a medical transcriber from Pennsylvania who sells video tapes stating only foreign earned income is taxable, Robert Schultz, the self-described head of the We The People organization, and Edward Rivera, an attorney from California who was recently enjoined by the Federal District Court, from selling patently false and frivolous tax advice.
As the Judge put it:
"He and those who share his views have a cultlike belief that laws that are generally accepted by citizens of the United States are not applicable to them," McBryde said. "The defendant has entrenched himself in anti-government groups."
And a few comments by Bill's best friend might have influenced a tough sentence as well:

The judge recalled that Simkanin threatened to kill federal judges and that he surrendered his Texas driver's license but continued to drive with a homemade identification card...

While under investigation, Simkanin posted a warning on his Web site that spoke of the "fury of a fire" that would consume his adversaries. He wrote to the treasury secretary that he had repatriated himself from the United States to the "Republic of Texas."
So, what didn't BS remember to mention in his tale of woe to Chuck Clement? Well, maybe there was more than a speeding ticket. And that his friend who was treated so unfairly was also a tax protester who threatened to kill federal judges.

It kind of paints that tale of woe in darker hues.


Anonymous said…
5 minutes of internet searching this AM but the BS in BS' statements on the courts.

First, as you noted, was his failure to pay taxes.

Second, the "traffic violation" was not a "traffic violation". It was a DWI, as he admitted to the Rapid City Journal.

Third, he and his little income tax protestor buddies sued the Federal government numerous times claiming the IRS and the income taxes are "hoaxes" or whatever. Here's just one of his lawsuits, the name of William R. Stegmeier of Tea, SD is on page 52 as plaintiff.

And this is just what 5 minutes of internet seaching turns up.

Does anyone know how to get this info to Chuck Clement?
PP said…
I've hot linked his name in the article
Anonymous said…
So, do Leslee Unruh and her husband, Allen, still support Mr. Stegmeier? Allen has been very vocal with his support of JAIL. He publicly advocated legal action against any Judge who upholds Roe v. Wade. Why stop there?
Anonymous said…
Dr. Unruh was very vocal in support of J.A.I.L., vowing to use it to jail any judge that upholds Roe or rules against things like HB 1215.

With the passage of J.A.I.L., Unruh makes the dire prediction that "South Dakota will be the first to challenge Roe v. Wade, to throw judges in jail if they violate the Constitution. There will be a grand jury if they legislate from the bench."

And that's why SD will be the first state in the nation to hold judges accountable only when they violate the constitution by over-ruling state referendums and/or legislation passed by elected officials.

Sioux Falls chiropractor Allen Unruh said the proposal comes at a time when citizens throughout the nation are rebelling against activist judges.

"I think there is a great uproar in this country against judges who are usurping legislative authority and legislating from the bench," Unruh said. "I think this is an idea whose time has come."

He was listed on the official endorsement page of

Then, suddenly, in March his name was gone and he has not said a single word about J.A.I.L. that I know.

Clean Cut Kid did a whole effort at trying to figure out what happened: did J.A.I.L. throw him out or did he run out? No answer ever came.

Sorry to mention another blog on your blog PP, but I have to give credit where it is due.
PP said…
No problem Anon 7:22.

Actually, if you are quoting another source, citations are appreciated. I've quoted CCK (even nicely) myself.

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