'Sovereign Citizens': Mere Tax Dodgers or Real Terrorist Threat?

A tattered American flag flies over Alabama.
Dennis Drenner

By Hal M. Bundrick

Sovereign citizens ​live in America but believe they are separate and unanswerable to its government. And now they're considered a big terrorist threat, too.

Sovereign citizens have been known to produce their own financial bonds, driver's licenses and property liens, all a part of what is called "paper terrorism." And while most sovereign citizens are primarily concerned with personal freedom and the abolition of government taxes, licenses and fees, some take their rights so seriously as to pose a threat of violence.

In a recent study issued by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, the sovereign citizen movement is considered the most serious terrorist threat in the country, according to 364 law enforcement officers. In fact, it's a matter of greater concern to those surveyed than the terror threat of Islamist extremists.

"Although Islamic extremists remain a major concern for law enforcement, they are no longer their top concern," the report says. "Approximately 39 percent of respondents agreed and 28 percent strongly agreed that Islamic extremists were a serious terrorist threat. In comparison, 52 percent of respondents agreed and 34 percent strongly agreed that sovereign citizens were a serious terrorist threat."

Case Study in Nebraska

Sovereign citizens say U.S. courts, law enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service have no authority over their actions. They may choose to live in the "Republic of Texas" or refer to themselves as Christian patriots, issuing their own license plates, currency and laws.

Recently, a federal jury in Omaha, Nebraska, found Donna Marie Kozak guilty of filing false liens against two U.S. District Court judges, the U.S. attorney for the District of Nebraska, two assistant U.S. attorneys and a special agent of the IRS. Kozak also filed a claim against the U.S. for a $660,000 tax refund.

According to court documents, Kozak claims to be a former member of the "Republic for the United States of America," a sovereign citizen group whose loyalists have been convicted of tax crimes for years. Kozak has filed liens against federal officials, including a judge, of nearly $40 million. For more than 15 years, she has undermined tax laws by placing property in "sham trusts, establishing a sham charitable foundation, sending harassing correspondence to IRS employees and filing bogus tax returns, trust returns, private-foundation returns and other false documents with the IRS," according to the U.S. Department of Justice.


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edgarlongenecker

Always, the brown nosing, SSHitler II brownshirt Nazis, do the defining, of their perjuries at law; denying the rights, they swore to uphold... Is it any delusionary, who is a toady, of the system, organized crime at law, who has a clue, about the principles, we all claim to live by, when, these Gestapos, are exercising their, fascist feeeding frenzies, pounding, grandmothers faces in the dirt, and, killing unarmed, civilians, who have no contractual nexus to the fascist state, whose Gestapo, , have the artillery, to, usurp the laws, the Gestapo, claims, "Sovereigns," are breaking... Let's publish, the principles, as proffered by the Gestapo, and, the actual laws of this land, instead of, claiming how many toady of the system, Gestapos, can whip the Sheeple into, their, al law, code nazi, compliances; under color of law, and, under threat of beatings and Gestapos, who ignore the law... to see exactly, what police perjuries are being used to accuse, Americans, of, what these, fascists, are and, do, daily.... I say, the law, is Sovereign, and the Uniform Commercial Code, requires an actual, revealed contract, to be enforceable, within the law... and, that, extrajudicial, embezzlements of your rights, outside 260 years of settled laws, makes the Gestapo, the actual, criminals... So, if the brown nosing media, is going to aid and abet, organized crime at law, let's give equal time to those, branded with the labels of todays, ratnest, Gestapo.... Edgrrr...

August 15 2014 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gee.effwye

We are a nation of laws, and in my opinion they are breaking the law......right or wrong, it's the law, and we have processes in place for changing laws.

I don't think terrorist is the correct word in terms of the defnition of the word.

August 08 2014 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mikcl1

Who says the trusta are a sham ? The lying government officials of the united states ?
The big sham in this country is the leader ship in washington they are nothing but liars and lazy ass dead beats, who give the selves raises have the best health care in the world, and can accomplish anything, republicans and democrats, they are all worthless traitors to this country.
Hard to belive they dont get thrown out on thier asses, losers all.

August 08 2014 at 10:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
thosholzel

Why not serve them with suboenas (which they won't respond to), then try them in abstentia, which will mean they can't go anywhere in the rest of the U.S. without fear of being arrested individually.
They;re itching for a fight; don;t givr it to them. Let them fester in their conclaves...

August 08 2014 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gee.effwye

Only dopey progressives are allowed to excercise civil disobedience.

August 08 2014 at 12:38 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to gee.effwye's comment
hecd.ag

Issuing yourself your own driver's license, isn't exercising civil disobedience, it's called committing a felony.

Come on con. Even a 7 year old can tell the difference.

August 08 2014 at 8:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to hecd.ag's comment
gee.effwye

Yet dopey progressives want to give amnesty to illegals crossing the border and doing this very thing.

August 08 2014 at 1:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
edgarlongenecker

The right to travel, trumps the embezzlement of forced, contract to make legal, that which is already lawful, without a permission slip from the corporate CHP / DMV conspiracy, who has taken it upon themselves, to, enforce codes, in violation of laws... embezzling cars, and arresting travelers, with, the absolute rights, these gun wielding fascists, ignore, while they, usurp the law, playing judge and jury, under the delusion that there are laws, that can force, the abrogation of your rights, as have already gone through the benefit, of the courts; of course, ignored by the lizards at law, Gestapos... If, you brown nosers, have any doubt, I suggest you have a "Sovereign," read you the laws, te lizards at law, are usurping , incessantly... The right to travel, vs drivers license; look it up, once you get up from licking the boots, of the organized crime at law, Gestapo.... Edgrrr... And, don't interpret what you think, I mean; our laws are written in plain English; you need take nobodys' word for anything; 260 years of court rullings have covered it all, and, this is a nation of laws, not, martial law, codes, despite Bogart Gestapos, wielding guns in the performance of their thieveries.... without, a crime, or a trial, by a court of competent jurisdiction, and, due process of law...

August 15 2014 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
hsenpfeffer

My goodness how many screen names do you post under little koch troll?

August 08 2014 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hsenpfeffer's comment
gee.effwye

How many times were you dropped on your head, freak?

August 08 2014 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
appeallawyercohen

Those putative citizens who deny their responsibilities to the Government because they choose not to recognize the Government should either be taken at their word and forcibly deported to, say, to Guantanamo or tried for whatever crime their conduct may show in a court of law. It would seem that we're back in 1860 where the existence of the Nation is somehow voluntary or the laws of the land can be nullified or ignored. If you're not a citizen (which has benefits, drawbacks, obligations, etc.) then you haven't the right to live here.

August 07 2014 at 8:37 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to appeallawyercohen's comment
gee.effwye

We're not a union of sovereign states united in a compact?

August 08 2014 at 12:26 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to gee.effwye's comment
hsenpfeffer

No we are not. The Articles of Confederation were abandoned as unworkable over 200 years ago. I realize you were asleep in Civics and History classes but you should not use big words that you do not know the meaning of after having slept through so many classes.

August 08 2014 at 9:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
gee.effwye

Actually, I ask questions like this to see what kind of response it gets. The framers of the constitution did however give the states a means to ammmend the constitution without even involving the cretins in DC. Look to article V.

So what do you think of different states legalizing recreational marijuana use when it is still unlawful on the federal level?

August 08 2014 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
eeverettm

How does Hawaii and the true Hawaiian people fit into all this since they want sovereignty from the u.s.?

August 07 2014 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to eeverettm's comment
ga7smi

the US waged genocide on the "true Hawaiians" to make sure Hawaii would remain a US cololny and then state

August 07 2014 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wjs27skeet

WOW, what a slanted article. Sounds like citizens discouraged with their Federal Government's antics are relabeled "Terrorists". You know like Samual Adams and Ben Franklin. And the go-along crowd like "hsenpfeffer" seems to have drank the Liberal kool-aide. Every day this Administration disregards the Constitution, yet when some Constitutionalist stands up and says ENOUGH, they are labelled a terrorist by the gov't. And the gov't lakies go right along with the program. Here's some interesting facts about who the real threat is: From 1900-1999 governments have killed more than 262,000,000 of THEIR OWN citizens ref: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM. These figures are not disasters famine or war; these are governments mostly Socialists, slaughtering their own citizens. As for opposing the gov't thru non payment of taxes, well this was done with success by anti-war activists during the 60's, check out Leftist Joan Baez, ref : "In 1964, singer Joan Baez made war-tax resistance a national issue when she announced her decision to withhold the 60 percent of her taxes that were tagged to fund the Vietnam War."ref: http://www.alternet.org/story/15576/the_noble_american_traditon_of_tax_resistance
Now to answer "hsenpfeffer" racial note about Clive Bundy "A group of Black Panthers or MS-13 members who did what the bundy crew has done would be rounded up" I suggest you look at AG Holder's dismissal of all charges against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in Philly PA. Yeah, as usual, some loud-mouth know nothing liberal, spewing the Party Line, sticking up for intrusive overbearing Government. Probibly never served a day in the Military, defending this Country and the freedoms we all enjoy.

August 07 2014 at 6:09 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wjs27skeet's comment
hsenpfeffer

Hey blowhard. The "New Black Panthers" are a group of about three people. They did not threaten to shoot people are declare war on the governments. The governments handling of something more similar to bundy's little pajama party would be like the clearing out of the MOVE house in Philadelphia in 1985. Bombs were dropped, 9 people died and 60 houses burned down. That is how they handled when blacks were involved. You need to learn history, though like most CONservatives, you were too smart to listen to your teachers in school too.

Oh and Ben Franklin, George Washington, Sam Adams, etc. Were labeled terrorists by their government. Unlike bundy or yourself , who only want to pout, whine and throw tantrums, they had EVERYTHING on the line. The British would have hung them if they were caught. You dweebs want to play rebel and tough guy but then whine about everygbody picking on you rather than face consequences. Open, armed rebellion against the government, like littl boy bundy is playing at usually leads to hanging unless you have enough firepower to get the job done. His gang does not. And they would not have the intelligence oir be willing to work hard enough to run things if they did. little cliven is still living off mommy and daddy's handouts and could NEVER EVER make it on his own. Pretty much like you.

August 07 2014 at 6:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Scottilla

These are very specific acts. Filing false tax returns, filing false liens, driving without a license or license plates, passing fake currency. These acts should all be prosecuted. Claiming to live in the Republic of Texas? Refering to themselves as Christian patriots? Constitutionally protected speech. Why is this even a question?

August 07 2014 at 4:30 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lodi10

What a sad article. The majority of the police force think these people are terrorists. That word "Terrorist" is being used very freely these days. Could it have something to do with the wording of the patriot act? Possibly. Obviously, these people need some sort of assistance, and to label them a terrorist is unsetteling at best. There are crazies in every bunch ESPECAILLY THE POLICE FORCE, maybe these people are fed up with all the corrupt "Officials" there are.

August 07 2014 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply