People are mighty brave when it is merely hypothetical

I asked readers earlier this week what you would do if confronted with a subpoena from a federal grand jury demanding extensive identifying information about people who had posted comments about a federal tax fraud trial.

The story was about a businessman accused of dodging taxes by paying contractors in U.S. gold and silver coins based on the value of the precious metal they contained, but declaring their face value for tax purposes. The comments were largely critical of the federal government. There are no more than 200 such comments.

When it is all hypothetical, you sure are brave with my company’s money and my freedom. Nearly 700 people voted. Of those, 51 percent bravely said they would have fought to the highest court in the land even if they landed in jail. Right.

Only 16 percent said they would immediately turnover what the feds were asking for, while 33 percent said they would surrender information only on those who clearly made threats or admitted criminal acts.

The ACLU continues to battle the subpoena. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

For many people now and in the future, this is not academic. What will happen when a friendly federal investigator visits your employer asking about what you’ve been posting online?

Armed members of several law enforcement agencies raided Robert Kahres business locations on May 29, 2003, to obtain records used to indict and prosecute defendants for federal tax crimes. The image, from a security camera, shows a piece of the action at one of his warehouses. (Photo courtesy Robert Kahre)

Armed members of several law enforcement agencies raided Robert Kahre's business locations on May 29, 2003, to obtain records used to indict and prosecute defendants for federal tax crimes. The image, from a security camera, shows a piece of the action at one of his warehouses. (Photo courtesy Robert Kahre)

2 comments on “People are mighty brave when it is merely hypothetical

  1. […] one point I asked readers what they would do if confronted with a subpoena from a federal grand jury demanding extensive […]

  2. […] one point I asked readers what they would do if confronted with such a […]

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