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The GOP Defends Geithner’s Tax Cheating

From an understanding Washington Post:

After Tax Errors Raised, GOP Leaders Defend Treasury Nominee

By Lori Montgomery
Thursday, January 15, 2009; Page A03

Was he cheating on his taxes or just sloppy with his finances? Lawmakers vetting the nomination of Timothy F. Geithner to serve as Treasury secretary say they may never be sure. But leading Republicans nonetheless joined Democrats in leaping to his defense yesterday, calling Geithner’s tax gaffes small potatoes compared with his qualifications for saving the global economy.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), the second-most senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is charged with reviewing Geithner’s nomination, called him "brilliant" and "honest" and said that, despite his tax errors, "I don’t think we can get a better person for this position. . . . He has the kind of background that should be very helpful to us at this time."

Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), a close associate of Senate Minority Leader  Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said: "If I was a traffic officer, I’d say he may have exceeded the speed limit, but he wasn’t weaving out of lanes, he wasn’t drunk and he wasn’t endangering anybody. He may have some explaining to do, but in the end, I think he’s going to be just fine."

Geithner is under scrutiny for a variety of errors on his tax returns, including using his child’s time at overnight camps to calculate deductions for dependent-care, taking deductions for ineligible donations to charity and failing to pay an early-withdrawal penalty from a retirement plan. According to a Senate investigation, he also employed a housekeeper, a legal U.S. resident, whose work papers expired three months before she left his employ.

But those matters have drawn little attention from lawmakers, who have focused on Geithner’s failure to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while he was working at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004. After being audited by the IRS audit in 2006, Geithner repaid nearly $17,000 in back taxes and interest for 2003 and 2004. But he did not correct his returns for 2001 and 2002 until Obama summoned him to serve at the Treasury, when he voluntarily paid nearly $26,000 in back taxes and interest.

"He only fixed it after discovering he was going to be the nominee, so the timing is troubling," said Sen.  Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), adding that Geithner called him late Tuesday after the gaffes were revealed and was "very contrite."

IMF officials said hiccups in tax filings are not unusual among their U.S. staff, who must calculate and pay their own taxes quarterly because the international agency does not collect taxes for any government. They noted that Geithner was hired as director of policy development in June 2001, when there was no orientation program to detail the tax rules.

The gaffes are also common among Americans who work at other international organizations, such as foreign embassies. In 2006, the IRS offered an amnesty period for people to correct their tax returns, noting that "as many as half of these employees . . . either fail to report their wages, claim deductions they are not entitled to, incorrectly establish SEP/IRA retirement plans, fail to pay self-employment tax or fail to file tax returns at all."

But a number of ordinary IMF staffers, as well as some tax experts, said the rules are laid out clearly in the quarterly notices the IMF sends its employees, along with the checks they are supposed to use to pay their taxes

"Is this an embarrassment for him? Yes. He said so himself," Obama told reporters yesterday. But, Obama said, "It has been corrected." …

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), appearing with Obama at a photo shoot yesterday, urged his colleagues to back off.

"These are huge times. These are not the times to think in small political terms,” Graham said, praising Geithner’s involvement with the Bush administration in crafting the U.S. response to the global financial crisis. "We need a new secretary of Treasury that understands where this country is at financially and has a game plan to move forward. I think he is the right guy."

And the Stupid Party wonders why they always lose.

Geithner is under scrutiny for a variety of errors on his tax returns, including using his child’s time at overnight camps to calculate deductions for dependent-care, taking deductions for ineligible donations to charity and failing to pay an early-withdrawal penalty from a retirement plan. According to a Senate investigation, he also employed a housekeeper, a legal U.S. resident, whose work papers expired three months before she left his employ.

Just more “honest mistakes.”

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 15th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “The GOP Defends Geithner’s Tax Cheating”

  1. artboyusa says:

    Ooh, so Lindsey Graham thinks he’s the “right guy”. Close closed. Problem solved. What a load of baloney… if we ever want to see the inside of the Oval Office again we should have zero tolerance for the ethically challenged and the ideologically confused. Conservatives should be the best of the best and we shouldn’t accept or excuse what’s not.

  2. Phil Byler says:

    Given what Geithner did, he had to know what he did was wrong; it was conscious cheating and was not equivalent to a traffic violation. That Republican Senators are going along with it is just dumb.

    And who thinks that the financial bailout was a good thing? I don’t.

  3. proreason says:

    No honor among thieves. Geithner’s cheating goes back at least to 1996. He’s a serial offender. It’s surpising he bothered to pay anything at all. Big-time crook. He might even be qualified on cheating alone to be a senator.

    But these piddly little numbers we hear about are probably understated by a factor of 10 or more.

    This stuff is a smokescreen.

  4. oki2 says:

    “Was he cheating on his taxes or just sloppy with his finances?”
    Help me out here, maybe I’m just not understanding the role of a Treasury Secretary. I reckon that position would require some skill with numbers: Accounting, Financing, etc. If this is the case, would we WANT someone in that position who either a: cheated or b: is sloppy with finances???

    • proreason says:

      He didn’t pay FICA when he was working for the IMF as a contractor.

      That is more serious than not paying FICA for a domestic employee.

      It’s cheating big time. If you are a private contractor, you have to pay the employee part and the employer match, so the percentage is 15.3%. On a high 6-figure annual rate, that’s not pocket change. He’s a crook. If it were you or more, with his record, we could be going to jail.

    • heykev says:

      I would agree, this is no petty crime. It was intentional and thought out. He was provided memos, his pay was “bumped” up to be adjusted for what he should pay if the IMF paid his taxes…this includes extra monies for being married, kids, etc. This oversight alone should disqualify him and send him to jail.

  5. Confucius says:

    How much do you wanna bet Hatch, Bennett, McConnell and Graham are guilty of the same?

    Nevertheless, it’s good to know that tax evasion is nothing more than an honest (if not embarrassing) gaffe of a mistake.

    I might even do a few this year.

  6. 1laidbackRN says:

    All these idiots are in bed together. It’s the American people that are suffering.

  7. Barbie says:

    I see… and the average person who did the same thing would be treated how???

  8. Alice L. says:

    Lindsay Graham – what a disappointment he has turned into! When he was in the House he was good but as a senator, not so great!

  9. Liberals Demise says:

    After these clowns fornicate each other it will then be their turn do bump us. Any way you look at it…..we are ALL screwed!!

    • Liberals Demise says:

      After this…it’s hard to figure out who the enemy is anymore.
      They all look and act the same. Zombie Lawyers!!

  10. BillK says:

    Once again proving why I no longer donate to Republicans, only to individual candidates.

    The GOP is indeed a joke.

    I have no doubt they are more likely to roll over and give the Messiah everything he wants over the next eight years than to put up any kind of fight.

    • Flession says:

      On that note, is it too late to split from the GOP and form our own party?

      You know, one filled with people who don’t use logical fallacies as a basis of governing.

      Or, you know, people with balls.

  11. Lipstick on a PIAPS says:

    I’d rather clean out the prostitutes from the GOP and have them go over to the Democratic party then they can find out how much they are REALLY hated by them over there. The GOP used to stand for something and it can again when we clean these whores out in the primaries. Lets make THEM move! I say…………………..! ;-)

    • sheehanjihad says:

      what we need is to teach that time honored control method called “Congress Interruptus” to prevent anymore molestation of the citizens of this country. GOP? they ceased to exist long ago….now they are more like “Geezers On Parole”. Vote and donate to the candidate, not the party. Especially this emasculated drivel that passes for Republican nowadays. Expect most of them to be doormats and lapdogs to the anointed one, so that they may be thrown scraps from the democrat’s table to keep them in line.

  12. Reality Bytes says:

    Hey! Wait a minute! This is Great! All we have to do is not pay taxes?! Can you imagine the amount of capital this will free up! Holy Smoke! Why this guy Geithner is a freakin’ genius!

    So he broke the law! So What?! Bush Lied but we won, right? So, how about we all cheat but the economy comes back.

    Course, we could just lower taxes but that would be the honest way.

    Note to RNC: Hey, fellas, if you’re wonderin’ why I’m not pickin’ up the phone when your number comes up on caller i.d. it’s because of this kind of crap. Have you no shame!? For cryin’ out loud, what’s worse, pleading incredible ignorance or lying to us – OR BOTH!

    Even my daughter knows how to file her own taxes. And This Is Who They Call Credible to Deal With Our Economy?! I guess crack is more popular in Washington than I thought.


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