The Internal Revenue Service is in the news lately. This is a good time to look at the case that solidified its reputation—a case involving a Chicagoan.
When the federal government tried to impose an income tax in the 1890s, the Supreme Court declared the tax unconstitutional. The only way around the decision was by constitutional amendment. In 1909 the proposed 16th Amendment—allowing a tax on incomes—was passed by Congress. Four years later, with three-fourths of the states having ratified, the amendment became part of the Constitution.
The feds then created an agency to collect the tax. In 1918 the agency became known as the Internal Revenue Service.
Herbert Hoover was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1929. This was barely three weeks after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre had focused national attention on gang-ridden Chicago. Everybody suspected that Al Capone was behind those killings, and a lot more. Yet all the forces of law seemed powerless against him.
Hoover was a Republican, and Capone had used his muscle to help Republican Big Bill Thompson get elected Mayor of Chicago.
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