Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rahm Emanuel: Tax Cheating Millionaire

From The Weekly Standard:

Big Democrats just can't seem to get right with Big Government, lately.

Tim Geithner "mistakenly" avoided more than $40,000 in taxes. Nancy Killefer withdrew her nomination over word that she failed to pay employment taxes for household help. Tom Daschle "honestly" overlooked more than $100,000 for a car service donated to him by a lobbying company. Hilda Solis, Obama's Labor Secretary nominee, faces questions over her husband's failure to pay thousands in tax bills, some of them 16 years old.

Now, it turns out, skull-cracker Rahm Emanuel himself has been crashing in a colleague's basement for five years for free and, you guessed it, not paying taxes on the abode.

Gawker first reported that Emanuel rents a basement apartment last week, mostly to make fun of the chief of staff for sleeping on a futon under a blacklight poster of Bob Marley. Which is an important part of the story, but it turns out the residence in question isn't zoned for rentals.

That sent Emanuel's colleague and alleged landlord out to deny the charges. Rep. Rose DeLauro (D-Conn.) told her hometown paper, "Hey, it's cool. He doesn't rent from me. He lives there for free!"

"I wanted to make clear: we have no separate apartment in our DC house, no rental apartment; all our bedrooms and living areas are part of the house and accessible. They are often used by close family and friends. In mid-November, I
got a call from the DC zoning office indicating that somebody had lodged a complaint and asked to inspect the property, which we welcomed. My husband was there for the inspection, which was uneventful and we did not hear again from the zoning office."

Wow, so one of the most powerful men in Washington is either the 7th-year undergrad rocking out to Dave Matthews in his efficiency pad in between shifts at the Gyro Wrap or the masterful mooch who passed out on your couch after a tailgate freshman year and never, ever left. One wonders if he even pays his part of utilities. That hot shower water is not free, Rahmbo.

Hospitality between colleagues is not prohibited by House ethics rules, but a gift of this size would have required a written waiver from the Standards Committee, which neither party has yet produced.

But, let's not stop there with the questionable ethics. DeLauro is married to one Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who has made quite a pile of money off work supplied to him by none other than his semi-permanent house guest. Living for free in the home of a Democratic pollster whom you employed as both a Congressman and as chair of the DCCC might run up against the ethics rules of the "most open and transparent" administration in history. That revolving door Obama keeps talking about is actually the private entrance to Emanuel's digs.

Let's say the Obama administration overlooks the ethics lapses— after all, they've set the bar so high, that each failure to reach it is simply a reminder of their superiority, according to spokesman Robert Gibbs. What of the pesky tax issue?

To most people, this is “imputed income” — non-financial gifts or compensation that should be reported to the IRS. Emanuel and DeLauro defend their conduct by saying that House ethics rules permit “hospitality between colleagues.”

It would likely fall in the same category as Daschle's car service in the IRS' eyes. And, that would put Rahm Emanuel in the same category as Geithner, Killefer, and Daschle. Clearly, the Cult of Competence does not allow decent accountants. (source)

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