Albion Monitor /News

State Senator Tied to Freemen Movement

by Jeff Elliott

Renounced U.S. and state citizenship in favor of a "white man's citizenship"

A collection of 1992 documents recently found at the Sonoma County Recorder's Office link an ultra-conservative California State Senator to the "Freemen" movement, stating that Don Rogers (R - Palmdale) renounced his U.S. and state citizenship in favor of a "white man's citizenship" that released him from obligation to pay income taxes.

After the Associated Press made the discovery last month, several members of the Senate denounced Rogers and demanded his resignation. "The day he submitted that document he was ineligible to be a member of the Legislature and ineligible to be elected," Sen. Richard Polanco, (D - Los Angeles) was quoted.

According to AP, Rogers said that he filed the citizenship affidavit after getting some bad advice on tax matters. That same year, Rogers filed for bankruptcy after the IRS demanded almost $150,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties.

Rogers told the AP that he would file another document reversing the declaration.

Similar to many Freemen documents

It is not known why Rogers, a resident of Kern County, filed the papers in Santa Rosa. Besides the documents for himself, identical forms were recorded for his wife and son.

The fill-in-the-blank form, filed about a month before his 1992 reelection to the Senate, make the same claims as other Freemen documents, as reported in the special feature on the topic found in the previous issue of the Albion Monitor.

Most prominent are references to 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which Freemen believers say created a second-class form of citizenship. Part of the document signed by Rogers stated, "...I am not a resident of any state under the 14th Amendment and hereby publicly disavow any... rights and duties under a substantive system of law other than that of the Constitutional Contract of 1787..." [emphasis in original]

Like many Freemen documents, Rogers' papers refer to the "supreme Court" [lower-case 's' intentional], and uses oblique arguments, such as, "...I am 'nonresident' to the residency and 'alien' to the citizenship of the 14th Amendment and, in the terminology of the Internal Revenue Code, I am a 'nonresident alien individual...'"

Resolutions sponsored by Rogers include topics such as avoidance of "world government"

First elected to the Senate in 1986, Rogers is not eligible for reelection this year because of term limits. He is on four committees and chair of Veteran Affairs. In the current term of the legislature, he has introduced 50 bills and resolutions, many in-line with causes fought by the hard right.

One of his bills, SB 1900, relaxes the restrictions on convicted felons owning guns. Specific cases mentioned include a person with a restraining order issued against them by a former or estranged spouse would be allowed firearms, as long as the weapons were originally purchased as part of community property.

Resolutions sponsored by Rogers include topics such as avoidance of "world government" activities, supporting soldiers who refused to wear United Nations insignia, and removal of all foreign military forces from the United States.

According to the Associated Press, Rogers has also spoken to groups accused of promoting white supremacy, and has defended aspects of the militia movement. Rogers has repeatedly denied that he is racist.

Besides asking for his resignation last month, Democratic leaders in the State Senate also held a news conference asking for federal and state investigations into possibilities of a "criminal conspiracy" linking tax protesters, white supremacists, domestic terrorists and "paranoid organizations projecting a takeover by the United Nations."

Rogers was also denounced by most fellow Republicans, including Senate President Bill Lockyer (D - Hayward). "I think the most commonly expressed view has been that the statements are idiotic and people have a right to be idiotic and we do not punish idiotic ideas," Lockyer told AP.

On Thursday, the Senate Ethics Committee ruled that Rogers did not violate their standards of conduct, and the Rules Committee said no actions will be taken against him.

The Ethics Committee said in a statement, "In light of the fact that Senator Rogers' filing had no effect whatsoever on either his qualifications to hold office or the operation of the Senate, it is the unanimous opinion of [the Ethics] committee that his actions are not only too remote in time, but not in violation of the standards of conduct."

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Albion Monitor May 5, 1996 (

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