Separation of Powers
by Jack Cohen
"Your question goes to the heart of the separation of powers doctrine. If Congress could delegate its duties to the executive, the Constitution would say so. It does not so state. It says Congress has power to lay and collect taxes, and that the President can appoint Ambassadors, etc. It could have said that Congress merely lays the taxes, and that the President must collect them, but it does not say so. It could have said that Congress could farm out its duties to private parties, but it does not so state. I read the Constitution as a document that says what it says, and no more. What it does not say, was not meant to be said when it was drafted. When it was drafted, it was drafted as a contract between the states, not as a contract for all the people. The states are still the people's governments, and the federal government is still our "international" government. It may regulate commerce between the states, or with the Indian tribes, or with foreign nations, and it may regulate the value of our coin and foreign coin, but it cannot regulate how we earn a living, or how fast we drive, within the boundaries of any union state.
This is a question most Americans have, primarily because of the shifts in power from the legislative to the executive branch. Think about this constitutional directive: "the Congress shall have power to collect taxes" as you think about "the Congress shall have power to coin money" and "the Congress has power to define and punish" certain crimes. The real power of the federal governmnent is not the executive, but the legislative.
I've posted this before, but you may have missed it, or missed the point. Under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, there was only one branch- the legislative. The executive branch was created entirely by Acts of Congress. The Offices of the Collectors of the Revenue were created at 1 Stat. 36, a month before the Department of the Treasury was created. We know they were legislative Officers because they had capacity to sue and be sued, which no one in the executive branch has. They were heavily bonded (5 sureties), which no one in the Treasury Department is requrired to be. When the Treasury Department was created, the Collectors were already busy collecting taxes, and depositing them in the Treasury. The Department of the Treasury was created, for the most part, to superintend the collectors. The Collectors would canvass their districts, and make up lists of taxable persons and articles. They furnished their lists to the Treasury Department Assessors. The Treasury Department Assessors, in turn, made up Assessment Lists for the Collectors, which served as authorization for them to proceed to collect. In other words, the executive branch merely tempers the activities of the legislative branch Officers. The executve branch was not created to "enforce" anything but regulations affecting the legislative branch Officers.
The Secretary of the Treasury is not the nation's tax cop, it is the nation's bean counter- the National Accountant, if you will. The United States Treasury is not in the Department of the Treasury, but in the legislative branch Treasury. The Legislature controls the money- the Executive holds the Legislature accountable. This is called "checks and balances". If the Collectors were to collect taxes without supervision, there is an outstanding chance they will collect more than the governmnent is due.
The Secretary (1 Stat. 65) can collect non-tax revenues, but not tax revenues. This is confusing, unless you read the Act that created the Treasury Department, and realize that the Congress already controlled the Treasury and its Mint, and never surrendered its control of the money to the executive. Today, we have no United States Marshals, attached to Article III Courts. Instead, we have the United States Marshal's Service, attached to the executive. The Department of Justice is a service to the executive branch, not a national prosecutor. The executive branch groundlessly assumed power to prosecute pursuant to the 1911 Judicial Act, which abolished the Article III Courts, created Article II courts, and stationed them where only Admiralty Courts had previously existed. The original District Courts were Courts for the Port Districts, where taxes were collected. Those courts are gone. Federal Judges sign SF-61 Forms, proving they are executive branch employees, rather than judicial branch Officers.
On the subject of Officers, all Offices are created by Acts of Congress, as I stated earlier. Congress created the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and the Office of Chief Counsel for Internal Revenue. Congress has never created any other Office or Officer in that area. Thus, there are only two IRS Officers- the Commissioner, and Chief Counsel. Officers do not have "delegates"; they have "deputies". There are no "Deputy Commissioners"."
[For clarification, taxes collected were from excises, imposts, and duties from foreigners who wanted to sell their goods here. These taxes were collected at the ports as the goods arrived.]