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01-13-09, 10:42 PM #1
Obama's pick to head the Treasury Department failed to pay taxes for 3 years (OOPS!), but Senate Democrats moved forward with his nomination anyway
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Barack Obama's choice to run the Treasury Department and lead the nation's economic rescue failed to pay $34,000 in taxes from 2001 to 2004, but the last-minute disclosure didn't stop Senate Democrats from moving forward with his nomination.
Timothy Geithner had paid some of the back taxes in 2006 after the IRS sent him a bill. When the Obama transition team discovered he owed even more back taxes, Geithner paid those additional taxes days before Obama announced his choice in November, according to materials released by the Senate Finance Committee considering his nomination.
Obama's staff told senators about the tax issues on Dec. 5.
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he still hoped Geithner could be confirmed on Inauguration Day, asking senators for unanimous consent to skirt rules and schedule a hearing as early as Friday.
"These errors were not intentional; they were honest mistakes," Baucus said after he and other committee members met with Geithner behind closed doors on Tuesday.
It was not clear Tuesday whether committee Republicans would sign off on Baucus' request for a quick hearing.
The panel's senior Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, hasn't decided whether the revelations are reason enough to oppose Geithner, said spokeswoman Jill Kozeny. He believes they are "serious, and whether or not it's disqualifying is to be determined," she said.
Another prominent Republican, however, spoke up for Geithner. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, another committee member, said he continues to support the nominee.
"I have no problem," Hatch told Fox News. "He's a very, very competent guy."
After senators met with Geithner, the panel released 30 pages of documents detailing his tax errors - and also how he came to employ a housekeeper whose legal immigrant work status had briefly lapsed in 2005.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., dismissed the events as "a few little hiccups," and said he was "not concerned at all" about the impact.
Obama reiterated his support for Geithner.
"He's dedicated his career to our country and served with honor, intelligence and distinction," incoming White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "That service should not be tarnished by honest mistakes, which, upon learning of them, he quickly addressed."
Geithner, plucked from his job as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to serve as Obama's treasury secretary, told transition officials and senators that he didn't know he owed self-employment taxes when he worked for the International Monetary Fund.
He failed to pay self-employment taxes for money he earned 2001 to 2004 while working for the IMF, according to materials released by the Senate committee. In 2006, the IRS notified him that he owed $14,847 in self-employment taxes and $1,885 in interest from 2003 and 2004, which he paid after an audit. The IRS waived penalties for those tax years.
Transition officials discovered last fall that Geithner also had not paid the taxes in 2001 or 2002. He paid $19,176 in back taxes and $6,794 in interest for 2001 and 2002 several days before Obama announced his choice, the committee documents showed. All told, Geithner had failed to pay $34,023 in self-employment taxes for the years 2001 to 2004.
Geithner and his supporters have said his mistake was a common one for people hired by international organizations that don't pay the employer share of Social Security taxes. The IRS estimated in 2007 that as many as half those employees had made tax-filing mistakes, and offered a group settlement to let them correct the errors. Geithner told Obama's team and senators that an accountant had reviewed his tax returns after Geithner prepared them and didn't discover the problem.
But some tax experts said the problem is not that common.
Tom Ochsenschlager, vice president of tax for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said it would be difficult for someone preparing a tax return for a self-employed person to skip the Social Security and Medicare tax lines.
"It's such a basic mistake that I kind of wonder if we know all the facts," Ochsenschlager said of Geithner's situation.
Geithner filed amended tax returns for 2001 through 2006 after Obama's team reviewed his records.
The committee's materials said Geithner "has experience with Social Security tax issues." He filed the taxes late for his household employees in 1996 for years 1993 to 1995; he incorrectly calculated Medicare taxes for his household employees in 1998 and received an IRS notice; and he received notices from the Social Security Administration and the IRS after not filing 2003 and 2004 forms for his household employees, the report states.
Geithner also said he didn't realize a housekeeper he paid in 2004 and 2005 did not have current employment documentation as an immigrant for the final three months she worked for him, the documents indicated.
One of his housekeepers' legal authorization to work in the United States expired on July 15, 2005, and the person continued to work for Geithner until October of that year, the committee's report states.
Geithner is the second Obama Cabinet choice to face controversy. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his name on Jan. 4 as Obama's commerce secretary after questions surfaced about a federal investigation concerning contributions and a state contract.
Geithner's tax problem was at least the second time such a situation has touched an Obama appointee. Nancy Killefer, the management consultant selected last week to become the new administration's chief performance officer, failed to pay unemployment compensation taxes, apparently on household employees. In 2005, the District of Columbia placed a $946.69 tax lien on her home over the unpaid taxes. Over a year and a half, she had failed to pay $298 in taxes plus the rest in interest and penalties, and she cleared up the debt within a few months.
01-13-09, 10:49 PM #2
So what's new?
When I saw the Demo 'leadership' line up on the Capitol steps to support Slick Willie and condemnn his Impeachment, they showed who & what they are.Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous
Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.
The light of hope burns brighter than the fires of doom.
01-13-09, 11:17 PM #3
Hmm... so here's a guy who cannot competently manage his own taxes, yet is now being positioned to manage the financial picture of an entire nation. Wow... just, wow.
I suppose this is in keeping with this element of Obama's campaign promise (taken from his website) http://www.barackobama.com/issues/ethics/
Reform the Political Appointee Process: FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in an Obama-Biden administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency's mission.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
01-13-09, 11:19 PM #4
Great.SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
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