Saturday, February 07, 2009

Artful Tax Dodger Dogs

Obama said after Sen Tom Daschel withdrew his name from nomination as HHS Secretary, "Ultimately it’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules. You know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes."

Lost in the tax evasion/honest mistakes revelations of now confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Daschel, and White House budget czarina Nancy Killefer there is has-been-comedian Al Franken who recently fessed up to being another tax dodger.

Franken, the Minnesota Democratic senatorial candidate, admitted to owing more than $70,000 in back taxes, interest, and penalties in 17 states.

Last April, the California Tax Franchise Board revealed that Franken owed the state $5,800 in taxes, fines, and penalties because he did not file returns in 2003 through 2007. Franken then admitted that he owed more than $50,000 in back taxes to 17 states.

Franken blamed everything on his accountant of 18 years, saying he failed to report the income from the comedian’s celebrity appearances and speeches in those states where he made money outside of Minnesota and New York, where he lives. Franken claimed he overpaid taxes in those two states and will file for refunds.

On top of failing to pay taxes in 17 states, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board hit Franken’s corporation with a $25,000 penalty for failing to carry worker’s compensation insurance for his employees in New York. Yet Franken ran as an advocate of middle-class voters.
Franken's accountant specializes in multi-state tax filings and claims "unique expertise in all aspects of tour accounting and reporting." It's ludicrous to say the accountant didn't understand or was confused by tax law.

Other Democrat Congressional office holders are also tax cheats and/or ethically deficient. Charlie Rangel has

myriad of personal financial problems related to Rangel's homes and campaign fundraising over the summer. Rangel was found illegally using a Harlem rent-stabilized apartment for campaign purposes, improperly sending letters on congressional letterhead to solicit donations for his pet projects and owing somewhere around $75,000 on his beach house at a yacht resort in the Dominican Republic. “Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they’d start speaking Spanish," he said as an excuse. Rangel rented the beach house for as much as $1,000 a week to tourists in the high season.

He was even illegally storing his vintage Benz in the House parking garage. The plates had been over the unmoved car for years. Technically, Rangel was supposed to report this parking perk as a gift on his financial disclosure forms, but he never bothered.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a House Ethics hearings concerning Rangel's lapses of judgement.
A report by a non-partisan group says House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel failed to report acquiring, owning, or disposing of assets — a total of 28 times during the past 30 years.

Researchers with the Sunlight Foundation say "Assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 appear or disappear with no disclosure of when they were acquired, how long they were held, or when they were sold."
The New York Times reported on Feb 4, 2009

In some cases, Mr. Rangel listed assets without stating when he acquired them. For instance, his disclosure form for calendar year 2006 lists 13 mutual funds with values from $54,013 to $286,000 but omits any acquisition date.

In other instances, assets disappear from his disclosures, with no suggestion of whether they were sold or exchanged. Investments he had valued in 2004 at $95,004 to $250,000 were omitted in a later filing with no indication of whether they had been sold or at what price.

The Sunlight Foundation report also noted that Mr. Rangel did not list any royalties or advances he may have received from his book “And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since” (MacMillan 2007). Mr. Milne said Mr. Rangel received no proceeds.
A resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. John Carter, R-Tex, to temporarily remove Rangel from the House Ways and Means Committee chairmanship.

Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd was recalcitrant in the release of his mortgage deal paperwork that he promise to release immediately. The loan was obtained while he was overseeing the housing industry bailout. The lack of transparency led many, even among his own race of Democrats, to wonder about his ethics. A review of the mortgage record revealed nothing untoward or extraordinary about the deal, Dodd still felt compelled to apologize "... for not sharing his mortgage information sooner, saying he wanted to wait for the Senate Ethics Committee to finish its review," reported ProPublica.

One could come to believe that if Democrats in Congress would only pay their tax bills, the economic crisis would dissolve in a nanosecond. Of course, that's not likely to happen. The Democrat race fully believes paying taxes is for everyone else, i.e., Republicans. Democrats don't pay taxes, they only spend the collected taxes.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Indigo Rose said...

My husband and I will definately be owing taxes this year. I wonder..... is it too late to become a democrat?

Indigo Red said...

No, it isn't too late. Your biggest hurdle will be that you've been on the wrong side of the prison bars.