Opinion: New Obama tax outrage: Nominee leaves IRS refunds unclaimed!


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There’s word this morning that a major, unexpected appointee to the unfolding administration of President Barack Obama has quietly withdrawn his name from White House consideration.

A White House source declined to identify the nominee to save him from bipartisan mortification. But apparently as part of the crack Obama transition team’s vetting process, they discovered that the nominee had paid all of his federal taxes through 2008.

Not only that, but the would-be nominee had, in fact, overpaid his federal income taxes since 2005.


Worse, he has yet to claim any refunds from the Internal Revenue Service, even when his oversights were repeatedly pointed out to him by a team of administration lawyers. This has left the federal government holding several thousand dollars that belong instead to the taxpayer.

Given the lengthening record of back-tax problems with numerous other administration appointments this year -- Tom Daschle, Timothy F. Geithner, Nancy Kelleher, Hilda Solis’ husband, and, just yesterday, Kathleen Sebelius -- the nominee was said to feel that proceeding with his appointment and the predictable array of awkward questions surrounding such inexplicable behavior would be a major distraction to a governmental administration facing such serious challenges as how to live up to five-year automotive warranties during a four-year presidential term.

The nominee, a Washington veteran who wants to spend more time with his family, knew that his inadvertent oversights totaling some $8,800 were insignificant in a city where sums of money with 10 zeroes are routinely described as ‘a small percentage of total spending’ without laughter. And he knew full well he’d be appearing before an open Senate committee dominated by fellow party members totally in the tank for him before they flossed that day.

But he felt that given the state of the nation’s economy on April 1, just 15 days before the income tax deadline for regular people, and the rowdy tenor of politics on Capitol Hill right now, it would be politically untenable to explain in public hearings how any normal American, let alone an appointed federal official in Washington, could conceivably leave such a sum of his own money unpocketed in this day and age.

More details if they emerge on this April Fool’s Day.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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