As the new administration begins to fill its cabinet posts, it certainly is refreshing to see that our new Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, was asked to explain why he did not pay $43,000 in back taxes while he was at the International Monetary Fund. We have been told, "It was an honest mistake."
Our new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added even more luggage to her load. The roster of donors to Mr. Clinton’s presidential library and global foundation enterprises include million-dollar-plus contributions from governments in the Middle East; tycoons from India, Nigeria, Ukraine and Canada; and international figures with interests in the policies Mrs. Clinton will be helping to write and carry out. Am I the only one who sees a conflict of interest here?
Our new Attorney General, Eric Holder, was instrumental in the pardoning of Marc Rich, who was indicted for evading more than $48 million in taxes. He also helped to get the pardon for 16 FLAN gang members of Puerto Rico. He repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents.
The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Charles B. Rangel has earned more than $75,000 in rental income from a villa he has owned in the Dominican Republic since 1988, but never reported it on his federal or state tax returns, according to a lawyer for the congressman and documents from the resort (that is 20 years of tax evasion).
Mr. Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the federal tax code, bought the beachfront villa at the Punta Cana Yacht Club and has received twice-yearly payments from the resort, which rents the property for $500 or more per night.
Records from the development, now called the Punta Cana Resort and Club, indicated that Mr. Rangel’s rental profits varied from year to year, from $2,700 in 2004 to $7,600 in 1994.
A lawyer for Mr. Rangel, Lanny Davis, said on Thursday that the congressman would most likely file amendments to his tax returns for the years in question.
Now the latest edition to these fine upstanding citizens who, "just made simple mistakes" is former senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota. In 2007, InterMedia informed Daschle that it had neglected to report one of his monthly payments, $83,000, to the IRS. No corrective action appears to have been taken until January of this year.
Also, InterMedia supplied a car and chauffeur for Daschle’s use. The Senate finance committee says that arrangement is worth more than $255,000 in unreported income.
Daschle’s spokesperson, Jenny Backus said Daschle naively believed that the use of the car was "nothing more than a generous gift from a friend." According to Backus, in June of 2008 Daschle questioned the use of the car and asked his accountant about it.
It was in June, of course, that Barack Obama was looking as if he could be president and some of Daschle’s detractors are suggesting the former senator’s rethink was generated by the prospect of a high-level job.
(The finance committee is also looking into $276,000 in charitable donations that Daschle and his wife Linda claimed over three years).
This country is being taken over by law breakers and tax cheats because "We the People" are allowing it to happen.
Perhaps President Obama’s book should have been titled "The Audacity of Integrity."