Patterico's Pontifications

1/13/2009

Timothy Geithner’s Honest Mistakes

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:15 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times Top of the Ticket does not seem to sympathize with Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner’s problems: An illegal immigrant housekeeper and unpaid self-employment taxes totaling $34,000.00 that were only paid after an IRS audit.

“Honest mistakes,” say an Obama spokesman and other Democrats.

“How do you know?” says Malcolm.

Meanwhile, the Senate Majority Leader may be distancing himself:

“I do not know Mr. Geithner well,” says Harry Reid.

Geithner will be in charge of the IRS if he is confirmed as Treasury Secretary. Instead of being a role model for American taxpayers, perhaps he will concentrate on feeling their pain.

— DRJ

72 Responses to “Timothy Geithner’s Honest Mistakes”

  1. Should he be asked what should be done about Charlie Rangel’s little tax problem?
    After all, the SecTreas is the ultimate IRS guy.
    That might be an interesting line of inquiry.

    AD (6e9550)

  2. I am no genius but it strikes me that everywhere the well-meaning PEOTUS goes scandal follows with his minions. Either he is corrupt or, frankly, stupid.

    I vote stupid, our very first Powerpoint President

    Da'Shiznit (dc4a50)

  3. IRS: CulpritA owes 50k in back taxes.
    Geithner: CulpritA is a major contributor to Dems, thus CulpritA made an honest mistake. Cut CulpritA a break.

    IRS: CulpritB owes 300 in back taxes.
    Geithner: CulpritB contributed 20 to the Palin-for-Gov fund, throw CulpritB in debtor’s prison till CulpritB pays off debt.
    IRS: There is no debtor’s prison. That’s illegal now.
    Geithner: *#$@! Then dump huge fines on CulpritB and repo all of CulpritB’s assets!

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  4. Barack Obama may eventually head the most autocratic, totalitarian, corrupt regime in the history of the US.

    Da'Shiznit (dc4a50)

  5. There are obviously different standards for different people. Libby mispeaks to a prosecutor for a non crime and he gets convicted of a felony. This nominee fails to pay his taxes and he is given a pass for Secretary of Treasury.

    It is nice to be King Obama.

    Joe (17aeff)

  6. Double standards are indeed huge in this Land of the Free, Home of the Depraved.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  7. I am amazed. I thought for sure this guy was going to get thrown in the pile of not-friends under the back of the bus.

    JD (0e032b)

  8. Nah, B. Hussein (remember, he’s going to start using his middle name again) Obama needs to get him to the front of the bus before throwing him out and under.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  9. Don’t be surprised, after all Obama did not promise the most ethical administration in history.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  10. Just the most transparent in history.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  11. Why would anyone from now pay their self-employment taxes or allow withholding taxes and actually pay their taxes come March when they can just say “screw it” and if the IRS comes at you later, just say “oops, I guess I pulled a Geithner”. ?

    j curtis (f6f46c)

  12. Here’s the galling thing, from Gibbs: That service should not be tarnished by honest mistakes, which, upon learning of them, he quickly addressed.”

    He did not correct the 2001 and 2002 returns upon learning of them. He corrected them upon someone else learning of them. He learned he had been filing incorrectly in 2006.

    MayBee (5b642f)

  13. Oh, snap!

    And the MSM marches on, missing that lack of transparency and that Dishonor.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  14. heh, the underline code doesn’t work, either

    the disappointed John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  15. MayBee has the point I wanted to make….that Geithner learned he was doing it wrong in 2006, but didn’t pay the taxes/penalties until November, 2008….

    THIS could be the way we can start a tax revolt….just don’t pay, and when we learn of it, take a couple of more years to pay it….

    reff (ea7aa1)

  16. Zoe Baird anyone? This really is ’92/’93 all over again!

    SoCal expat in TN (426e74)

  17. The stupid system politician pukes took the blue pill again – they call this an honest mistake, that he is still supremely qualified to lead us out of this economic crisis – do they not get that it is exactly the opposite – that it is the Federal Reserve, who is not federal and who has no reserves, but a foreign banking cartel, who schemed to lead us into this mess in the first place, to buy the US out for pennies on the dolar – and now we are giving the very keys to our US Treasury to the Federal Reserve. This is just sickening.

    FedHater (e7b902)

  18. While I have views concerning future events, and I wholeheartedly agree the Fed is not written anywhere in the Constitution, I cannot truthfully say FedHater is anything more than a conspiracy alarmist.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  19. Amazing. Not only to we have another Nannygate, but a future Secretary of the Treasury (thus head of the IRS) that can’t file his taxes correctly (and in the worst case EVADEs his tax responsibility). And when the errors are pointed out he doesn’t get involved to correct the situation. How pathetic. Mr. Geithner, whether you like it or not, it’s every self-employed person’s responsibility to make quarterly tax payments that include Social Security and Medicare. But I guess that’s only for us peons, not the upper creme like you.

    Anonymous (5f3739)

  20. The Republicans are already looking like a better choice.

    Happy Demo (55aca1)

  21. Those wascally wepublicans switched cabinet suppwicants on us.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  22. What underline code?
    ——–

    Oh, and didn’t the transition team demand that EVERY potential appointee fill out a questionnaire disclosing EVERY potential stumbling block to confirmation?

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  23. with a “u” inside or “underline” inside is underline code. The “u” inside will show up in preview but the “underline” inside will not.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  24. heh, with a u, how to defeat the code

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  25. arrow pointing left, arrow pointing right, or “less than” “greater than”, that’s how to defeat the code

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  26. Underline?

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  27. Or, underline?

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  28. Ah! Change we can believe in!!!!

    Michael (3d8bb6)

  29. Or, is it underlying? [Kind of like the subtext of “honest mistake”]

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  30. Someone please explain what would happen if you or I did not pay $34,000.00 in taxes? Think we would be appointed to one of the highest offices looking after the taxpayers money? I do not think so. Obama ran on “Change”. Where is the change, the cabinet is made up of former Clinton staffers and new staffers that are surrounded in controversy. Perhaps Obama did not learn the definition of ‘change’. Heaven help every U. S. citizen, this ride will be bumpier than the previous administrations. Of course, that is what we get when we elect a man with only two years experience in the national scene.

    Mik (02dfd0)

  31. Geithner: “I didn’t pay the IRS — let me oversee the IRS.”

    The phrase “inmates running the asylum” has never been more apt.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  32. If he’s confirmed, I wonder if Geithner will gave himself removed from list of taxpayer auditees of the IRS. Otherwise I can just see the next conversation with an IRS examiner – Mr. Geithner you failed to report this income and pay taxes on it during 2006, 2007 and 2008. Geithner – that was an innocent mistake. IRS examiner – whatever you say boss.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  33. I had the thrill back a few years ago when my IRS ‘account executive’ called me regarding my late filing. I had sent out on time by certified mail but it was so precious that my “AE” was so concerned about me. Congress needs to investigate why Geithner’s ” AE” failed to do their job.

    bob (409ac2)

  34. This is the problem with Obama. If we sink a mainstream Treasury nominee like Geithner over this ‘oversight’ who knows what socialist could replace him? I mean Socialist Brown(shirt)er is a bad enough choice for her post but at least Geithner is a decent pick. And maybe having someone with tax problems might be good in a Treasury Sec; having someone who could identify with problems of ordinary Americans in paying taxes might be a sympathetic Secy.

    eaglewingz08 (ad2cae)

  35. You see where that honest mistake got me!

    Zoê Baird (3e4784)

  36. Same place it got me!

    Kimba Wood (3e4784)

  37. Hey! Nice seein’ y’all again!

    Linda Chavez (3e4784)

  38. […] you just can’t make up this stuff. Via Patterico, we learn that Timothy Geithner, designated by President-elect Barack Hussein Obama to be the next […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » The guy who should get thrown under the bus, isn’t — at least, not yet (73d96f)

  39. I thought that our incoming president had specified that all of his applicants and prospective appointments had to fill out a very detailed, very lengthy questionnaire. If so, the either Mr Geithner omitted this small detail, and should sive under the bus voluntarily, or he did list it, and Mr Obama appointed him anyway, in which case, it’s on him.

    I did, however, like the comment on the LATimes blog that this was a quiite common mistake. Given that this mistake only applies to those who can afford to hire domestic servants, it seems to me it makes it rather uncommon.

    The inquisitive Dana (3e4784)

  40. Republicans steal my money and give it to their wealth buddies. Democrats steal my money and give to their wealthy buddies. The only difference in the Obama presidency is who gets the spoils. The middle class will pay for it in any case. And our Treasury Secretary can’t pay his income tax?????

    arizonadonald (efaf1d)

  41. He did not correct the 2001 and 2002 returns upon learning of them. He corrected them upon someone else learning of them.

    Yes, he paid the 2001 & 2002 returns in Nov 2008 AFTER he learned he was in the running to be nominated for Treasury Secretary. See the correlation between being considered for a cabinet post and the taxes being paid? There has also been a few years between the two tax payments. It’s not like this has been an ongoing regular payment plan situation since he first learned of the original problem.

    It’s very doubtful not paying any taxes in the first place was an honest mistake. It doesn’t take a braniac to know if you’re self-employed in any way, various taxes are owed on that income. Then a man of Geithners education and financial experience supposedly made a second honest mistake by not hiring a compentent enough CPA (if he did not do his own taxes) to correctly file his taxes all those years? Then a third honest mistake (?) was after Geithner was audited he didn’t put two and two togather and think “if I owed for 2 years, shouldn’t I also owe for the other years I did the same kind of work for the same kind of employer”?

    Gee, that’s a lot of honest mistakes. I figure Geithner only paid for the years he was audited and probably hoped noone would notice the other years and only coughed up the money when it became obvious that not doing so would impede him getting a job with the PE.

    tango (b000c8)

  42. […] 2: DRJ at Patterico’s place calls BS on Geithner just committing “honest […]

    BizzyBlog » Geithner Update: AP’s Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems ‘Goofs’ (887a61)

  43. But, remember, Joe the Plumber was THE WORST AMERICAN EVAR!!! because he had a one-month old $1k lien that he paid in full.

    Techie (6b5d8d)

  44. Dana… if you read the stories, you’ll find a release from the transition office that Geithner did disclose that on his questionnaire.

    Tango… During the time in question, he worked for the International Monetary Fund. Because of its special status as an international organization (and this works the same way for U.S. employees of foreign embassies), he was an employee (and given a W-2), but his income was treated as being self-employed anyway. This has to do with the tax status of those foreign entities. If you got a W-2, would you automatically assume that you needed to pay self-employment taxes?

    And he did get an opinion, in writing, from a CPA telling him he didn’t need to pay those taxes. If your CPA told you you didn’t need to pay some kind of tax, would you keep hiring a new one until you found somebody who said you DID have to pay the tax?

    PatHMV (653160)

  45. “Gee, that’s a lot of honest mistakes.”

    tango – Charlie Rangel makes a lot of innocent mistakes with his taxes too and he runs the Ways and Means Committee. This is complicated shit, man. Seriously, if I ever have a problem with my taxes I plan on pointing at Rangel and Geithner and saying if those dudes couldn’t get it right, why did you expect me to?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  46. And he did get an opinion, in writing, from a CPA telling him he didn’t need to pay those taxes. If your CPA told you you didn’t need to pay some kind of tax, would you keep hiring a new one until you found somebody who said you DID have to pay the tax?

    But the IRS had told him otherwise, and made him pay the taxes on the two years they had audited.
    As for the W-2 (why the IMF does it that way, I don’t know), it had ‘NONE’ written in the FICA withheld box. Any American citizen that thinks he’s going to go a year without paying FICA is fooling himself. Finally, the IMF sent information to employees letting them know they needed to do this.

    On a human level, I don’t blame him. Nobody wants to pay more taxes. (hear that, Obama?)
    After he found he’d been filing his taxes wrong (according to the IRS), I don’t blame him for not going back and amending his prior years to pay more. I just don’t want the Obama team lying to me about it how “honest” it was, or how he cleared it up as soon as he knew about it.

    MayBee (5b642f)

  47. “And he did get an opinion, in writing, from a CPA telling him he didn’t need to pay those taxes.”

    PatHMV – Accoeding to other sources there was plenty of established precedent that he needed to pay these taxes and his accountant should have known that. Did his accountant’s opinion also suggest that he wait a couple of years to pay the assessed back taxes until the day he was nominated to become PeBHO’s Treasury Secretary?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  48. This administration is already one of the worst at vetting potential cabinet officials – and they’re not even in office yet. But as another commenter noted above, after Wood and Baird got booted, we got…Janet Reno. So I hope the guy gets confirmed, for fear it could be so much worse.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  49. Well I can give him a pass on the CPA signing off on his taxes because he has no control over that advice. But I can’t give him a total pass on the “I didn’t know” I had to pay Fica taxes in the first place. Supposedly the IMF gives their employees a handbook that covers tax situations and also issues quarterly and yearly income statements with additional and repeated tax information. It seems they must know there’s a problem or they wouldn’t spend so much time trying to educate their employees on the correct tax filing procedures. My opinion stands that it’s very questionable the “honest mistake” excuse still flys for the taxes he just recently paid. If he had to pay taxes for the second half of his employment with the IMF, then why not the first half? Why didn’t he immediately amend his income tax filings for 2001 & 2002 and pay the taxes back in 2006 when he corrected the other years returns? Why did it take him two years longer and the dangle of a cabinet post position to motivate him to pay those taxes?

    tango (b000c8)

  50. Well, I thought it was great that the Baird and Wood bitches had to pay up!

    Janet Reno (3e4784)

  51. Me? I wasn’t so happy.

    Elian Gonzales (3e4784)

  52. Hey, at least everyone in my compound was legal and paid their taxes!

    The late David Koresh (3e4784)

  53. Listen, the guy is nominated for TREASURY SECRETARY during the biggest financial crisis in years. He should get no passes here. He should decline his nomination now.

    bio mom (a1e126)

  54. Dana’s on a roll…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  55. This is really troubling. Both parties are basically giving this guy a pass for his past tax transgressions. The thing that amazes me is not whether or not this guy is qualified. The disturbing thing is that they really couldn’t find a candidate for Treasury Secretary without prior tax violations? Are we supposed to buy this crap? Or, is Washington simply so %$#@*ing corrupt that they are all a bunch of crooks? It looks more and more like the corruption in Washington is simply that widespread. And, I agree with all those that posted that the Obama team has a laundry list of shady characters associated with it. And, the guy isn’t even in office yet.

    JoeSIxPack (036b5e)

  56. Oh, I forgot to plug the blog I write for… http://1progressiveguy.blogspot.com/

    JoeSIxPack (036b5e)

  57. David Koresh, welcome back. It’s nice to see you’ve finally quit smoking.

    Steverino (69d941)

  58. I wonder what one of our “excused” trolls is thinking about this after all the crap he gave me over saying I would consult with my CPA to arrainge my business affairs to minimize any tax liabilities in the future anti-business environement promised by the incoming President?

    Have to think he needs a new monitor after having his head explode all over the screen.

    BTW, anyone know which accounting firm Geithner used? I might want to change advisors – the question is to go there, or avoid them like the plague.

    AD (1d0fdb)

  59. I suspect Geithner is a little like Sandy Burger.
    He’s just a slob, and his desk is covered with papers. The innocent explanation is the most likely one, and I bet the Obama people were all laughing about it on the way over to the Senate committee hearing.

    Oh, these crazy guys.

    MayBee (5b642f)

  60. Sandy Burger.

    I think you really meant “Sandy Burglar.”

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  61. Did Geithner use Bernie Madoff’s accountant by any chance?

    ROA (c2df25)

  62. The Democrats villify Joe the Plumber for owing less than $1,200 in back taxes yet Geithner’s owing of $34,000 is an honest mistake.
    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    Ryan (f34786)

  63. I know. If you’re poor, work a blue collar job, owe back taxes that you have to pay via payments, you’re a deadbeat. If you’re rich, work on Wall Street, owe back taxes that you can pay in full once caught, you’re eligible for a cabinet post.

    Oh I love America and all her crazy possibilities!

    tango (b000c8)

  64. Ryan, you’ve almost got it.

    What the Dems will say is something to the effect of, “Oh, we made a mistake. Sorry, this really isn’t important. So you have to accept our guy because we’re sorry about your guy.”

    It’s convenient for them, because Joe the Plumber can’t hurt them now, so there’s no need to villify him. And we all know the next time this happens to a Republican, it will become important to the Dems again.

    Steverino (69d941)

  65. This is just insulting. No, it was not an honest mistake. He got caught stealing $34,000. Geez.

    Wesson (3ab0b8)

  66. Well, if the T Secy doesn’t pay his taxes … why should I.

    Da'Shiznit (dc4a50)

  67. Timmy’s job is to write bailout checks to all the banks that his friends on Wall Street have plundered and destroyed. After all, if the banks are allowed to fail, as our businesses would under similar circumstances, his buddies won’t be able to make their penthouse payments.

    His biggest problem: how large, physically, must a check be to fit in all those zeroes?

    Patricia (89cb84)

  68. I heartily agree with you guyz about this Timothy guy. Apparently he was a registered Republican for much of his career and a steadfast member of Larry Summers li’l group of FreeMarket DeRegulators working with Phil Gramm to ‘liberalize’ banking and finance laws.

    I sort of doubt that a Republican administration would have investigated his tax history (evasions) so closely as Obama’s did but then again Geithner wasn’t experienced enough to hide his irregularities as well as a private investor would have.

    Probably, he didn’t try to cheat as he was audited so easily…but then still he’s unfit to be Treasury Secretary for that alone. Obama might as well as put the Big Dog 2 in his place. Where’s larry Kudlow’s favorite, Larry Summers!!

    quotes today: ““I still support him,” Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah said. “He’s a very, very competent guy.”

    Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, called the matter “a lot to do about nothing.”

    “I just find it to be really unfortunate,” Mr. Gregg said, “because here is an extraordinarily qualified guy who we really do want to have in leadership here in Washington.” “

    datadave (71778a)

  69. Is Obama smart enough to see he screwed up? Is he too arrogant to care. Are we dealing with Nixon in blackface.

    arizonadonald (efaf1d)

  70. And dickhead dave chimes in to blame Democrat law breaking on Republicans!

    Keep in mind that dave has admitted he’s a tax cheat himself. The “he didn’t try to cheat because he was caught so easily” line is golden!

    Rob Crawford (04f50f)


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