Saturday, October 3, 2015

Freedom to Farm Reaffirmed in Virgina

Back in 2013, I reported on an interesting case regarding a farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, where it appeared as if the IRS had conspired with the local government land grabbers to try to run a woman off her small family farm:
She became the subject of an IRS audit after the PEC sued her over the terms of a conservation easement that sits on her property and after Fauquier County issued her a series of citations based on alleged zoning violations that could amount to thousands of dollars in fines.
Email messages and other written information Boneta obtained through a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) show PEC and Fauquier County government officials discussed her case at length in a steady chain of emails and other written messages that were exchanged in 2011 over a period of several months.
She doesn’t know what exactly led to the IRS auditing her, but she suspects at least one well-connected PEC official was involved.

Margaret “Peggy” Richardson — who served as President Clinton’s IRS commissioner in the 1990s — is now an executive board member of the PEC.
At the time, the issue was still being contested, but today I found a post at Powerline which followed up, and reported good news:
The story ends happily, as Boneta’s case became notorious and Virginia’s legislature eventually passed legislation that brought the harassment to a stop. Both Ms. Boneta and the filmmaker attended the screening and answered questions; she was very impressive. The film is produced by the Charles Koch Institute. Here it is; at 28 minutes long, it is eminently watchable:

The bad news, of course, is that the people in Fauquier County and IRS who conspired to release her information have not been brought to account.

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