PROVO -- A one-time Provo mayoral candidate and outspoken critic of the federal government vows that a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit won't keep him down long.
"I think I've been dealt a rough blow over the last few years, but I kind of asked for it," said Albert E. Carter, whose newsletter and speaking activities against the Internal Revenue Service have been on hold since a federal government raid on his Provo office last year."At the right time, we will be available," said Carter, considered by many to be one of the influential suppliers of information to extreme critics of the federal government. "We'll be back."
Carter runs several companies under the acronym AIR. Currently,
his activities are confined to selling portable exercise trampolines under the company name American Institute of Reboundology. In the past, he has disseminated information on the federal government and solicited offshore investments through companies under names including American Institute for the Republic, Allied International Resources and American Institute for Research.
In June 1998, the SEC filed a lawsuit accusing Carter and two other Utahns of reaping millions of dollars selling allegedly worthless railroad bonds. The suit sparked a raid on Carter's Provo office by the FBI, which also investigated then-Utah County sheriff candidate Richard Mack. Mack worked as a consultant for Carter, selling "asset-protecting trusts."
Mack, a former Graham County, Ariz., sheriff who gained national attention for fighting the federal government over firearms background checks, alleged that the raid was timed to thwart his bid for sheriff. The search warrant was served just days before the Republican primary election, which Mack lost. No criminal charges were filed in connection with the investigation of AIR.
Soon after the raid, Mack left Carter's employ after discovering what he called disappointing facts about the company that previously were withheld from him.
"There were some things the management at AIR had been less than up front about with me," Mack said. "I can see investigators having some concerns."
However, Mack said, the way the FBI handled the investigation was worse than what AIR did. Mack filed a federal lawsuit in April alleging that Utah County and the federal government purposely thwarted his bid for sheriff. That lawsuit is still pending, as is the SEC suit against Carter, which does not name Mack as a defendant.
"It's sort of at a standstill," said Ken Israel, head of the SEC's Salt Lake City office. "The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, we responded, and we're awaiting the judge's decision."
Carter, who calls himself an "investigative journalist," published a handbook several years ago titled "The Internal Revenue Service Investigated." He traveled the country giving speeches and once spearheaded the filing of a class-action lawsuit against the IRS.
Carter said he is not a tax protester and just wants to contribute to the welfare of the United States by pointing out government deficiencies. He plans to continue his activities once the SEC lawsuit is resolved, possibly as soon as the first of next year, he said.
"We fully intend to take the investigative materials the FBI has and use them to vindicate ourselves," Carter said. "We're going to come back much stronger than ever before."