An open letter to Amazon.com Owner Jeff Bezos on the Main Street Tyranny tax.
Regulars have seen the attempts here to correct the misinformation about the main street fairness act.
Michigan lawmakers were snookered by Kowall and Verheulen into passing their tyranny in the lame duck; a time when there would seem to be no voter backlash. We call that cowardice, and reprehensible. This morning I penned (typed) a letter to Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon.com:
I am an online retailer. I have been fighting the mainstreet fairness taxes for several years now. Recently, Michigan legislators in a lame-duck session voted to address nexus issues in the state in an attempt to collect use taxes from out of state vendors such as Amazon and other drop shippers.
Clearly you have been arguing that the commerce clause is the remedy to what the states are trying, and frankly you are right. Quill v North Dakota settled the matter, and if there was EVER a reason for Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, this is it. The states cannot use tariffs or taxes to discourage (or encourage) trade with other states. It is one of the enumerated powers of the congress, and the states have little business attempting to work around it.
The states are attempting to pressure US representatives through the main street fairness lobbying and at some point may succeed in convincing representatives to engage a national distributive sales tax as a way to protect box stores from online small business that currently thrives under our current model. As we have seen with much legislation in the past 2 decades, this could happen.
But there is another avenue you (and attorneys working for you) may not have considered.
The fourth amendment.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.“
The fourth amendment clearly outlines the limits on government. Considering the only way to verify or calculate amounts owed to the state by vendors who achieve nexus through sales minimums would be to have intensive record tracking, it seems that it is legally impossible. Government cannot simply open shipping records, relationship databases, or compel vendors to ‘volunteer’ the status of relations between vendors and shippers unless it has a specific and compelling reason to do so.
Of course, under Oklahoma Press Publishing Co. v. Walling, 327 U.S. 186 (1946) , the government might insist that corporate entities are in-fact subject to constant review and oversight:
“the only records or documents sought were corporate ones; no element of self-incrimination was presented or claimed; all the records sought were relevant to an inquiry for the purpose of determining whether petitioners were subject to the Act …“
Subject to a federal act on Labor to be specific.
However in CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, the court held that corporations are indeed protected as the individual under our constitution. There can be no question the same application could be made upon warrant-less intrusion into our personal and sometimes necessarily private business affairs.
I appreciate your efforts in fighting what is an increasingly unconstitutional attitude toward taxpayers, and business alike. I hope this will assist in formulating a continuing defense against the tyranny of “main street Fairness” and its cruel effect on small business and Amazon as well.
Industrial Covert Unlimited
Its been suggested Mr Bezos is ‘accessible.’ I hope he is, and is able to use this suggestion (if it has not already been considered) to put an end to this nonsense by big government progressives such as Eileen Kowall and Rob VerHeulen.
Wait .. what?
Ouch! Good thing the Kowalls have a conscience that of the Clintons, as she certainly resembles a Maytag Repairman commercial, yes?
C'mon guys! Where were the 39 House **Cotter** and 13 Senate Republicans? Or, the other 39 House **Cotter** and 12 Senate Republicans?
There are three SCOTUS decisions from the 1970s created what lawyers now call the 'highly regulated industry' exemption from 4th Amendment constitutional protections:
Colonnado Catering Corp. v. United States 397 U.S. 72, 74, 77 (1970)
(ATF liquor case: "closely regulated industries long subject to close supervision and inspection")
United States v. Biswell 406 U.S. 311, 316 (1972)
(ATF firearms case: "pervasively regulated [businesses]")
Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc. 436 U.S. 307 (1978)
(OSHA case: Barlow's was not found subject to the 'highly regulated industry' exemption)
Originally, these cases were about 4th Amendment protections against searches and seizures without a search warrant. Subsequent decisions at the appeals court level, affirmed by SCOTUS, have extended the rape of highly regulated industries to most other constitutional protections.
The 'mainstreet fairness' acts are a sly move by the Michigan Legislature to convert online businesses into "highly regulated industries".bereft of all constitutional protections. Ask any scrap metal dealer; they got this treatment from Michigan government earlier in 2014. Same cast of characters did it.
As I point out in the letter, perhaps Citizens United will help.
Holding breath no. We have, and have had $hit for brains legislators who hold zero regard for the constitution.