Given the vaunted status of tax cheats amongst the Democrats, you’re all shocked, I’m sure:
House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel predicted, on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program that aired Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, that his multitude of ethics woes would soon disappear. “I think that next Tuesday you will see a break in this and as soon as the Ethics Committee organizes they ought to be able to dismiss this,” National Journal’s CongressDaily quoted the Rangel as saying.
If so, it’s hard to imagine that the Select Committee on Ethics will have devoted anything more than a cursory glance at the various issues raised. Consider just one aspect, for which documents are in the public record: Rangel’s financial disclosure forms. We took a look at his filings going all the way back to 1978, the first year members were required to disclose information on their personal finances, and found 28 instances in which he failed to report acquiring, owning or disposing of assets. 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, as the operative House rules at the time required.
This is all according to Charlie, of course. Much like the Obama team clearing itself of any inappropriate behavior in the Blagojevich troubles, taking Charlie’s word here would not be advisable. However, he seems to know that something is coming, and considering that Speaker Pelosi made little to no effort to support the investigation, we shouldn’t be surprised if Rangel walks away from this with his Chairmanship still intact.
Most ethical Congress ever!
According to this report, Wells Fargo is prepared to put some money back into the federal coffers:
Good news out of the failing financial sector, finally. Wells Fargo Bank reports it will pay back the federal government $371.5 million in its first quarterly bailout installment.
Wells Fargo is believed to be the first major bank receiving TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) to do so.
In an internal memo obtained by The Remmers Report, Wells Fargo said the quarterly dividend of $14,861.11 per share is payable Feb. 15. The feds purchased 25,000 shares of Fixed Rate Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock last September and is the only holder of record of the Series D preferred stock.
“Since credit began contracting 18 months ago, Wells Fargo has made almost half a trillion dollars in new loan commitments and mortgage originations,” said Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins. “Last quarter alone, we made $22 billion in loan commitments and $50 billion in mortgage originations. That’s more than $70 billion or almost three times the amount of the U.S. Treasury’s investment in Wells Fargo. We believe we’re leading our industry in lending to creditworthy customers during this difficult economy.”
It is ironic that initially Wells Fargo signalled (sic) Treasury it did not want TARP funds and when it did, negotiated the takeover of financial giant competitor Wachovia.
The payment would represent only about 1.5% of the TARP funds given to Wells Fargo, but it’s a start I guess.
Tom Daschle a few years ago [pdf]:
Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.
Tom Daschle today:
“Daschle spokeswoman Jenny Backus said he had known since June 208 that his luxury car and driver provided by wealthy Democratic donor, longtime friend and business associate Leo Hindery might be taxable, but never expected the amount to be such a ‘jaw-dropping’ sum and ‘thought it was being taken care of’ by his accountant.”
Of course he did. Let’s get real here – he never really checked or cared until he found out he was in line to take a cabinet post with the most ethical administration ever. And then suddenly it was both important and a priority.
Say “hi” to Tim Geithner for us, will you Tom?
Hope and change.
[Via Don Surber]
I’ve come to understand that Democrats don’t like tax cuts, but even more importantly, they don’t like paying taxes. This time its Obama’s HHS nominee, Tom Daschle. Apparently Mr. Daschle was absolutely clueless that he should have been paying taxes on a car and driver which was provided at taxpayer expense:
After being defeated in his 2004 re-election campaign to the Senate, Daschle in 2005 became a consultant and chairman of the executive advisory board at InterMedia Advisors.
Based in New York City, InterMedia Advisors is a private equity firm founded in part by longtime Daschle friend and Democratic fundraiser Leo Hindery, the former president of the YES network (the New York Yankees’ and New Jersey Devils’ cable television channel).
That same year he began his professional relationship with InterMedia, Daschle began using the services of Hindery’s car and driver.
The Cadillac and driver were never part of Daschle’s official compensation package at InterMedia, but Mr. Daschle — who as Senate majority leader enjoyed the use of a car and driver at taxpayer expense — didn’t declare their services on his income taxes, as tax laws require.
During the vetting process to become HHS secretary, Daschle corrected the tax violation, voluntarily paying $101,943 in back taxes plus interest, working with his accountant to amend his tax returns for 2005 through 2007.
Now I’d expect to be told this is just an “honest” mistake, much like Tim Geithner’s. And of course, the same people who defended the tax cheat who is now Secretary of Treasury, are defending Daschle:
“The president has confidence that Sen. Daschle is the right person to lead the fight for health care reform,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said. “In preparation for his nomination, Sen. Daschle and his accountant identified some tax issues and fixed them. They filed amended return with the IRS and made payments with interest. Sen. Daschle brought these issues to the Finance Committee’s attention when he submitted his nomination forms and we are confident the committee is going to schedule a hearing for him very soon and he will be confirmed.”
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., added: “Sen. Daschle will be confirmed as secretary of health and human services. He has a long and distinguished career and record in public service and is the best person to help reform health care in this country.”
When did Daschle “identify” these tax problems? It appears only after the distinct probability that Obama would win and that he’d be serving in Obama’s administration. Suddenly he was concerned:
Daschle reimbursed the IRS $31,462 in taxes and interest for tax year 2005; $35,546 for 2006; and $34,935 for 2007, a Daschle spokesperson said, adding that Daschle had asked his accountant to look into the tax implications of the car and driver five months before Obama won the presidency.
It wasn’t important in 2005, 2006 or 2007. It only became important when not paying them stood in the way of a possible job in the administration.
The Daschle spokesperson told ABC News that the senator, facing questions from the committee, has said “he deeply regretted his mistake. When he realized it was a mistake he corrected it rapidly.”
Yup, some real ethical giants are going to be running the ship of state aren’t they?
Hope and change.