Liberty: It was my impression that the answers you gave were extremely perfunctory. All but one of your answers for Fox News simply summarized the LP position, despite the fact that Fox had asked "where do you stand" on the issues. And the one question to which you didn't merely give the LP's official position was "Where do you stand on the separation of church and state?" I would think that someone who is a constitutional scholar like yourself would give an answer more than "the Libertarian Party doesn't have a position on this issue."
Badnarik: Well, the problem that I saw at the time, at least I interpreted that they were asking what the Constitution says. And the Constitution doesn't mention the separation of church and state. The separation of church and state comment comes from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to, I forget which church it was . . . but I don't have any . . . there was no particular strategy to answering the questions that way.
Liberty: When asked about the war in Iraq and calls for resumption of the military draft during the debate, you responded, "Imagine, people are not willing to go to foreign countries and die the way they used to. Imagine that." To Fox News, you said, "The Libertarian Party is opposed to the War in Iraq and we are also opposed to the potential draft that Democrats and Republicans are planning to revise." It almost seemed as if you were downplaying some of your views.
Badnarik: No. There have been no decisions made to do that, and I have just been under the gun and traveling. I haven't slept past 6:00 in five days. I think I am holding up pretty well with the lack of sleep and the traveling. We have not made any strategy decisions to downplay anything.
Liberty: Should we expect you to continue to answer questions in this perfunctory way?
Badnarik: There is no deliberate strategy to do that . . . I haven't been able to count the number of interviews I've been involved in and I think it has been going very, very well and I think I've been improving as I've gone along.
Liberty: I'm curious because I think the kind of answers you gave in the debate were a lot better.
Badnarik: I haven't even seen the debate yet.
Liberty: When did you last file a federal income tax return?
Badnarik: I've been unemployed for about three years. I'm not sure exactly when the last one was. I've sent letters asking the IRS to clarify my tax [situation].
Liberty: In your book, you suggest that people should ask the IRS whether they are liable for income tax, and how does one figure out which "items of income" are excluded for tax purposes. Are these the kind of questions that you have asked the IRS?
Liberty: Barb Goushaw-Collins, your campaign manager, told me that you are trying to settle with the IRS right now. Is this true?
Liberty: Is this a campaign decision to make the campaign go more smoothly?
Liberty: Some of your supporters who were aware of your status as a non-filer suggested to me that if the IRS actually arrested you during the campaign, it would be great publicity. You've rejected this line of thinking?
Badnarik: Yes, because I represent the Libertarian Party. I don't think that the Libertarian Party endorses that level of activism. I was doing that on my own for lack of any other venue for getting my message out. I had several people tell me that this was a compromise of values and I don't necessarily see it that way. In order to accomplish things, there are times when we have to postpone our goals for an intermediate step.
You know the Founding Fathers, most of whom were opposed to slavery, bit the bullet and consented to a clause in the Constitution which forbids Congress from [interfering with] slavery until 1808. It wasn't an acceptance of slavery. It was an acceptance of the fact that you can't eliminate slavery immediately. When I was doing that I was doing whatever I could to put government in its place. As a spokesman for the Libertarian Party, I think I have much better opportunities to get our message out and to damage the IRS than to create this big brouhaha which could very easily be spun to discredit us and marginalize us. Although I still intend to eliminate the IRS, this is only a temporary strategic [decision].
Liberty: One of your aides said you don't have a driver's license, that you let yours expire when you moved to Texas, because they wanted your Social Security number . . .
Badnarik: They wanted my Social Security number and a fingerprint and I was trying to obtain one without that. That apparently wasn't possible, and so again, I chose that bat tle because even if I lost, I figured the worst that would happen is that it would cost me money. I've actually been very successful. I've actually won several of my court battles. I've gone to court, picked a jury, and after I have picked the jury, the prosecutor raised his hand and asked the judge filed a motion to dismiss.
Liberty: You've been stopped without a license, right?
Badnarik: Yes. I've been stopped several times without a license and I have been given citations. I've never been put in jail for not having a driver's license, because it's a class three misdemeanor, and they can't put you in jail for that.
Liberty: Have you been fined?
Badnarik: Yes, I've paid fines. I've actually gone to court and won some of them. The dramatic behind-the-scenes issue is that when I get the ticket, I go to the police station and they ask me how I want to pay the fine. And I tell them point blank that I don't want to pay the fine, I want to go to court. They say, "Go home and we'll send you a letter indicating when you're supposed to appear in court." They tell me that they will, and they're legally obligated to send me notice but they don't. Not being omniscient, if they don't send me a letter telling me when the court appearance is, I don't know when I'm supposed to be there. When I fail to show up, they call my name and file a warrant for my arrest for failure to appear. The next time I'm pulled over for not having a driver's license, due to my lack of knowledge that there was a warrant out, I get handcuffed and taken down to the county jail and get processed.
Liberty: How many times has this happened?
Badnarik: Three. I've been told recently that Alabama does not require a fingerprint or Social Security number for driver's license and I've been advised that I can get a driver's license there.
Liberty: Why does your campaign card list your address as Buda (78610), Texas, rather than putting the ZIP code after the state?