President Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Daschle have been getting some attention regarding their failure to pay taxes, but what about Al Franken?
Franken, who is still fighting incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman for Minnesota’s Senate seat, failed to pay at least $70,000 in taxes to 17 states prior to running for office.
Minnesota’s Star Tribune reported Franken was paid to appear at a number of celebrity appearances across the country and file taxes appropriately in those states since 2003. Franken’s team released a spreadsheet to media detailing the debt through the campaign, but there has not been any verification Franken has actually paid them down yet.
Franken refused to answer questions and blamed his attorney Allen Chanzis for the error-- much like Geithner blamed the mass-market tax software for his failure to pay $34,000 in taxes.
Noticing a trend here?
Daschle, at least, seems to take some personal responsibility. He simply claims he made an "honest mistake" in forgetting pay employment taxes for his personal driver.
There a few other Democrats who have gotten in trouble for their finances lately although the media has been slow to make a narrative out of the obvious big picture story: Democrats Campaign to Raise Taxes, Fail to Pay Their Own.
We're still waiting for resolution on House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Charlie Rangel’s multitude of tax transgressions that caused both the Washington Post and New York Times to call on Rangel to resign from the powerful post. (Rangel curiously blamed a language barrier for the tax omission.) Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised an ethics investigation report would be produced by January 3rd. Nearly a month later, there's still no report.
And what about that sweetheart deal Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd got on his mortgage? This was a hot story while he was overseeing the bailout of the housing industry, but seems to have been forgotten. Dodd promised to produce his mortgage papers for inspection at the height of the scandal, but that never happened.
So, what's the deal? Are politicians, who create, implement and oversee tax policy, not expected to pay their taxes? Is this a "freebie" now? Geithner survived the media test, so is that the new standard?
How many Democrats will be allowed to get away with it before it becomes a story??