A federal judge has dismissed a felony tax evasion charge against a man who describes himself as a Christian who refuses to give money to the government to support abortion.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman ruled that the government's indictment failed to provide any evidence that Michael Bowman tried to conceal or mislead government officials by simply cashing his checks and keeping a low bank balance so tax collectors couldn't garnish his account to pay taxes.
"Not everything that makes collection efforts more difficult qualifies as evasion,'' Mosman said Wednesday.
Bowman, a contract engineer who lives in Columbia City, said he's been up front with the Internal Revenue Service, refusing to file a tax return or pay taxes since 1999 without some accommodation afforded to him for his religious beliefs.
"I'm not a tax protester. I love my country. I have a duty to my country. I have a duty to my conscience,'' the 53-year-old said, raising his hand and striking his chest, where the front of his shirt spelled out a definition of "conscience."