Ticket Replay: 41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes, but they work hard
During the holiday season, as in years past, The Ticket is republishing some of our favorite items from the previous political year. This story was originally published on Sept. 10, 2010:
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 ...
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