Opinion: Another Obama pick owes back taxes, but it’s OK because, now caught, he’ll pay up


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Oh, Sergei, you mean you’ve lost another submarine?

Word today that yet another Barack Obama appointee has a little problem with taxes -- a $10,000 problem.

Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas who would be the White House chief trade representative if confirmed, didn’t pay taxes on some speaking fees he donated to his alma mater and he tried to write off the full $17,000 costs of his Dallas Mavericks season tickets.

Not sure if we have room here to list every other would-be Obama appointee who turns out to have some tax problems. There was Timothy Geithner, who’s now Treasury Secretary in charge of the IRS.

But being as articulate as he is and so well-versed in handling other people’s money, he was deemed essential to the fight against the economic downturn and that’s worked out real well. Just look at the markets.


There was Tom Daschle, who was deemed essential to the effort to completely reform the nation’s health care system.

He owed something like $140G’s with interest and penalties because he got a free car and driver and some other stuff from a rich guy who paid him $1 million a year for advice (hopefully not tax advice) and Daschle forgot to mention it for a few years.

But the former Democratic Senate Majority Leader could tell that those pesky outnumbered Republicans would try to make an issue -- or worse, a ‘distraction’ -- out of Washington elites not following the rules that they clearly wrote for others. So he pulled out.

And there was Nancy Killefer, whose performance as would-be chief performance officer was also self-terminated when she turned out to have had a past tax problem. And Bill Richardson pulled out of Commerce not because of taxes but because of a federal pay-to-play probe.

And Rep. Hilda Solis, whose husband had some tax liens going back 16 years until the day before her committee vote as Labor secretary. But who in their right mind would hold a wife responsible for her husband’s financial problems, even if they did start the same year she was elected to the state legislature?

(BTW, has anyone checked the tax returns of the Obama vetters who are supposed to be checking the tax returns?)

Sen. Max Baucus, who’s a loyal Democrat in years that he’s not running for reelection in conservative Montana, is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Thank goodness for his committee staff, who found much of these back taxes. If we can just keep getting enough new Obama appointees, maybe we can make a real dent in these impressive upcoming deficits.


Anyway, Max has somehow magically determined that Kirk is ‘the right person for this job.’ Baucus intends to push the Kirk nomination through quickly.

And, after all, now that he’s caught, Kirk has agreed to pay his back taxes. So what’s the problem?

Remember that line next month in case you get caught.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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