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41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes -- and they're not alone

Democrat president Barack Obama addresses his staff in the Oval Office-file

Over the years a lot of suspicion has built up across the country about Washington and its population of opportunistic transients coming to see themselves as a special kind of person, somehow above average working Americans who don't labor down in that monument-strewn former swamp.

Well, finally, an end to all those undocumented doubts. Thanks to some diligent digging by the Washington Post, those suspicions can at last be put to rest.

They're correct. Accurate. Dead-on. Laser-guided. On target. Bingo-bango. As clear as it's always seemed to those Americans who don't feel special entitlements and do meet their government obligations.

We now know that federal employees across the nation owe fully $1 billion in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

As in, 1,000 times one million dollars. All this political jabber about giving middle-class ...

... Americans a tax cut. Thousands of feds have been giving themselves one all along -- unofficially. And these tax scofflaws include more than three dozen folks who work for the president with that newly decorated Oval Office.

The Post's T.W. Farnum did some research and found that out of the total sum, just 638 workers on Capitol Hill owe the IRS $9.3 million in back taxes. As in, overdue. The IRS gets stiffed by the legislative body that controls its budget. How Washington works.

Now, back taxes have been a problem for the Obama-Biden administration. You may recall early on that Tom Daschle was the president's top pick to run the Health and Human Services Department. But it turned out the former Democratic senator, who was un-elected from South Dakota in 2004, owed something like $120,000 to the IRS for things from his subsequent benefactor that he just forgot to pay taxes on. You know how that is. $120G's here or there. So he dropped out.

And then we learned this guy Timothy Geithner owed something like $42,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS, which is one of the agencies that he'd be in charge of as secretary of the Treasury. The fine fellow who's supposed to know about handling everyone else's money. In the end this was excused by Washington's bipartisan CYA culture as one of those inadvertent accidental oversights that somehow never seem to happen on the side of paying too much taxes.

And under Geithner's expert guidance the U.S. economy has been, well, wow! Just look at it.

Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents' names. But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama's very own White House owe the government they're allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS' parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis' husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System's board of governors owe $1,076,733.

Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes.

Then, we come to the Department of Homeland Security, which is run by Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who preferred to call terrorist acts "man-caused disasters." Homeland Security is keeping all of us safe by ensuring that a brave Dutch tourist is aboard every inbound international flight to thwart any would-be bomber with explosives in his underpants.

Within that department, there reside 4,856 people who owe the tax agency a whopping total of $37,012,174.

And they're checking our pockets for metal and coins?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Pete Souza / White House

Comments () | Archives (221)

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No person shall be employed by an entity, branch, contractor, or vendor, doing business as, or with, the Government of the United States if said person is deliquent on any personal, or corporate income taxes. This law pertains to any person, business, or legal entity. Punishment for infraction, whether error or with intent, shall be immediate termination, and/or loss of contract, and indictment under the Federal Penal Code. No appeals or stays will be granted for ignorance of or unfamiliarity with the law.

A year or two ago, a family friend cashed a US saving's bond that I had bought years ago as a gift on the birth of their child. As the government requires a tax id or social security number at the time of purchase, I naturally gave them mine. The IRS had no trouble tracking me down for back taxes on the few measely dollars of interest that they had earned. And like a fool, I paid it.

Perhaps I should have adopted the Obama way - lie, cheat, and steal!

the amount is about the same as in the bush administration.

The real question is what is the IRS doing to collect the overdue taxes? Or does it just look the other way? And how much do IRS workers owe? You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Pathetic. Time for a good revolution. I may be an old vet, but I bet I can shoot the eyes out of a tax evader at 100 yards.

So THIS is where the new round of stimulus money is headed - bailouts for DC insiders.

Vote out all incumbents. Fire them all.

Not a single federal employee pays any tax.

Private sector pays taxes --->

IRS receives taxes -->

Governement Pays Employees, etc out of this money --->

Federal Employees pay money in "tax" to the IRS -->

IRS recieves money from federal employees income "tax" pays it out to Federal Employees etc.

so it is a circle, if federal employees were paid LESS and paid NO tax, then the there would be no net loss to government.

so, all taxes "PAID" by employees of the federal government are a sham. Thats like and employer saying,

"I Will pay you 100,000 dollars a year, but you have to pay me 20,000 for renting your cube, 10,000 for your chair, 5000 for the bathroom. or having an employer say I will pay you 75000 dollars, and everything that you need in the office, I will cover"


This is obama's way of doing things... special privileges... always above the 'little people'... Steal money from the government... don't pay taxes...

Haven't we had enough of this corruption? Tired of being talked down to? Tired of not having a job?

Nov 2 - Vote against EVERY Democrat.

Pay up you idiots!!! You will have to eventually. You cannot lie and hide forever. You lying dems are so out of here in Nov!

Gosh, they must have inherited those tax bills from Bush.

So,the vicious right wing conspiracy is at it again.White house staff often
accept remuneration lesser than in their previous employment in order to
serve the country and thus have difficulty paying all the bills.The IRS charges
interest on unpaid balances,I think such interest should be waived as a
gesture recognizing the sacrifices of a relatively small number of hard workers for wich millions of our citizens receive top quality govrnment services.

Hey stupid... Do as I say, not as I do...

Every member of any administration should be audited before taking off.
Every representative should be audited when elected.
Any representative that is reelected should be audited.
Any representative found to be guilty of oncome tax evasion should be kicked out of office and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and no longer qualify for retirement payments or medical care.
With the increasing number of democrats that can't seem to pay their taxes this could be a rather substantial windfall for the federal government.

I hope Staunch Liberal's comment was tongue in cheek because if Republicans were to so arrogantly thumb their noses at the IRS there would be investigations and calls for offenders to be fired or worse. Too many double standards. Too much blaming of someone else. We need term limits. We can no longer afford career politicians whose only job seems to be getting reelected. Pls vote in NOV.

And people wonder why the State of California is going broke. Too.


Not paying taxes - or even avoiding taxes (e.g. John Kerry and his yacht) - is to Democrats what sex scandals are to conservative Republicans.

Why are you picking on all those poor government servants? People are treating them like dogs! Woof, Woof, Woof! We are just seeing the tip of the corruption iceberg that is going to sink the Obozo administration. Impeachment hearings, anyone?

@ Charles23: "Suprise, suprise. They don't pay their taxes but they want to raise your taxes. It is sooo liberal of them."

Really? I don't see a break-out of the amounts owed by members of Congress by political party. Nor has the author compared the amount allegedly owed by federal workers with what's owed by business owners, corporations, and non-federal workers. As of 2001, the TOTAL owed but not paid was $345 BILLION. No doubt that total figure is now much higher. If federal employees and retirees comprise $3 billion of the total, they're doing FAR BETTER at paying their taxes than non-governmental taxpayers.

This sounds like a story whipped up right from FIXed News playbook...

Staunch Liberal - you are a naive idiot.

You actually believe these people work 14hr/days 7 days a week or 20hr/day 5 days a week?

Bush didn't create this mess. Congress controls the purse and budget. Democrats had control of congress for 4 years which includes the last two years of the Bush administration. Democrats voted for this swamp. Bush merely signed it. Try educating yourself on how government works. May I suggest you start with the US Constitution. It's probably beyond your education level of understanding.

And then to suggest that these back taxes were manufactured by republican IRS hacks is stupid. What planet do you live on?

Maxine Waters and Rangel are just dishonest.

You're not a staunch're a stupid liberal.

Deduct from gov. paychecks til paid up. No one being paid by MY taxes is immune. Who allows this to happen to even one person?

Staunch Liberal, you're not a liberal at all. You're an Obama groupie.

In 2008, 'Jerk Joe' Biden said, "It's patriotic to pay more taxes. "
So, these tax-cheats must be traitors!

How dare you expose the hypocrisy! Forget the burning of the Quaran..... we should burn copies of the IRS code, after all, it's being ignored!

Top O' the Ticket is the only thing I read on LAT. It warms my heart to see so many sane commenters here. I especially like Jeronimo Dan's idea about all of us not filing tax returns next year.

Damn, Turbo Tax failed again!

Change You Can Believe In!

Isn't tax evasion a prerequisite of the Obama administration?

Nothing but pigs at the trough.

What's also crazy is how many retired and active military personnel are on that list.

Great article! Along the same lines.....remember the 'beer summit'? A little background on Obama and the cambridge police dept. Obama had 10-20 past due parking tickets from when he was in school there. He paid the tickets right before running for president. Not before running for senator . So he was the last person who was qualified to sat that someone acted "stupidly".
But it goes to the point.....they think that tickets and taxes and obeying the law are for the common people.

If someone owed taxes in 2009, does that necessarily mean they were working in 2009, or 2008? I'm honestly not sure.


Great article. Maybe if they focused more on being personally responsible and accountable, they wouldn't need to blame others all the time for the mess that we are in.

In order to emerge from the economic quagmire that has paralyzed this great nation, true leadership must emerge. We must be willing to openly acknowledge our prior excesses and allow markets to enforce necessary corrections without doomed attempts at intervention. At the same time, we must focus all of our energy on encouraging economic innovation and activity through reduced regulatory burdens, strategic infrastructure investment, and incentives for domestic investment and production.

In 2004, 90 employees of the Executive Office of the President owed $821,096 in back taxes - this is from the same IRS report cited in the article.

Some perspective for those of you who just started paying attention on January 20th, 2009.

"Homeland Security is keeping all of us safe by ensuring that a Dutch tourist is aboard every inbound international flight to thwart any would-be bomber with explosives in his underpants."

Classic line!!!

Well, what did we expect from the folks who think that being an illegal alien is not illegal?

Dullsville is reading the comments of the reactionary repubs on subjects such
as religious freedom,immigration or or non storys like a union of teachers
beeing denied free viagra in contradiction to the signed contract.Unions must
insist that reports such as the one refered to in this article no longer be made
public. Just because some underpaid civil servant might be a few dollars behind in his taxes does not mean that they have to be fed to the wingnut
wolves. Denis Kucinich will be submiting some much needed anti discrimination legislation on this subject.Let's hope the house can pass this before the
descendants of Attila the Hun come barging in.

They apparently know that the tax money collected by the government is wasted on useless spending so they made the right move and decided not to pay into a wasteful system. Brilliant.

In a quick review, I question your statement about senatorial tax liabilities. Unless I am missing something, there are less than 217 senators.

(AM responds: You are missing something. No problem though. Thousands of people work in and for the Senate, which has 100 senators. Thanks for reading so closely.)

All this muck racking has got to make our devoted public employees feel very
unappreciated.If president Obama succeeds in ending the scandalous tax cuts
to millionaires and multi-billionaires,part of the proceeds should go to extinguishing the measley amounts owed by the workers.

This isn't about left or right. It's about the culture of crass materialism to which we've enslaved ourselves.

American Politics is an industry similar to any other; indeed, it's as possible for a young person to "Go Washington" as "Go Hollywood." Any occupation that relies on appearances, and the appearance of success in particular, to lend validity to its message is going to foster a climate of "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

Add to that the high cost of living in the general vicinity of D.C., the social pressures that require a significant "keeping up with the Joneses," etc., and you have genuinely honest people stretching themselves to the limit simply to put on a certain face.

It's human nature to do so, but it's exacerbated by the prevailing climate of materialism prevalent in our society.

That's not a call for Marxist/Leninism; I love capitalism, I see nothing wrong with a person spending their income how they will. But I wouldn't mind a bit of a return to a society that stresses savings over spending.

Give me a break people. This isn't a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is a rich politician issue. Playing the blame game isn't how to resolve issues like this. Holding Washington accountable is.

whats new ?

Oh boy ... THAT'LL really win over Joe & Jane Sixpack!

I can't wait until November gets here. It's gonna be a bloodbath. Make sure you have plenty of popcorn on hand to watch the carnage on election night!

This is exactly how the Russians ran their government back in the good old days. They probably still do. Another lesson the Obamaites learned well from their leftist mentors.

Ok, Obama, plug this hole, ok??? Talk about "fraud, waste and abuse!" Every one of these people should be impeached, fired, jailed - or otherwise deported. And their names emblazoned on a new "memorial" next to the White House.

To Staunch Liberal-98.9% of IRS employees are liberal democraps. How do I know this? Because I worked at the IRS for 13 seasons and every election I had my tires flattened, my car defaced and was harassed for being a Republican. I have seen the "liberal" democraps purposely send taxpayers into audit hell for laughs, I have seen the "liberal" democraps condone identity theft every day (do you know that if someone steals your SS# the IRS figures that if they use that number the second year it must be theirs). Then when you retire or become disabled the taxpayer (American citizen) must then prove that the SS# is really theirs and then they are charged with all the back refunds made to the criminal plus penalty & interest.

Why is it always a conspiracy if a democrap is accused but always a fact if a Republican is accused?

the only thing that will shake these crooks and weasels up is tax anarchy. for instance, what if all the quarterly filers out there (small businesses and individuals) just stopped paying their estimated taxes? let them come try to prosecute 15 million of us. it may be a pipedream in terms of organization/implementation, but nothing short of that will stop these smarmy, entitled, arrogant swamp rats from "do as i say, not as i do." enough to make you sick, isn't it?.....

As a semi-retired senior who will pay close to $ 50K in federal taxes this year I think I have enough skin in the game to call for an independent investigation into why and how these 41 were cleared for employment in the WH. The average amount owing is north of $ 20K; not exactly chopped liver. It (the investigation) should also include what enforcement action, if any, has been undertaken to collect the amounts in arrears. Maybe the delinquents should call Taxmasters. :=))

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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