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Ward 3 Republican candidate owes back taxes

Two sitting D.C. Council members owe income taxes to the the federal government. And if Republican David E. Hedgepeth can knock off Ward 3 incumbent Mary M. Cheh (D) next week, it could be three.

According to a lien filed with the D.C. Recorder of Deeds in April 2009, Hedgepeth and wife Justine H. Kenin owed $12,608.13 to the Internal Revenue Service at the time.

Should Hedgepeth win, he'd join a menagerie of politicos with various personal financial issues. Ward 8 Democrat Marion Barry and at-large independent Michael A. Brown also have outstanding federal tax bills; Barry has been subject to an ongoing criminal prosecution for unpaid income taxes. Another council member, at-large Democrat Kwame R. Brown, has been sued by creditors for nonpayment of debts.

"I've had some financial difficulty," Hedgepeth said today. "A lot of people have had financial difficulty lately."

Hedgepeth's issues date from before the current recession. The tax bills date back to 2006 and 2007; Hedgepeth explained in an interview today that he and his wife had worked out a payment plan with the IRS but fell behind, leading to the lien. "We are paying what we owe," he said, adding he expected to have the balance clear within a year and a half.

The matter is of some embarrassment to the D.C. Republican Committee, which has given Hedgepeth strong backing and has also criticized council members with personal financial issues. Ward 3 -- with about 7,900 registered Republicans, about a quarter of the party's citywide votes -- is considered the party's best chance to regain a seat on the council, which has not had a GOP member since Carol Schwartz's 2008 loss.

Hedgepeth, like the D.C. Republicans generally, has made fiscal responsibility part of his council platform, speaking out against the grocery-bag and soda taxes supported by Cheh.

"[W]e have little to show for the high taxes we pay because of the millions of dollars of waste and inefficiency in the system, and we cannot afford it," he writes on his Web site. "Is your family getting $21,000 in services? Dave will fight for a more effective and efficient government so that D.C. taxpayers can get more for their money."

Hedgepeth has been boosted in recent weeks -- first by the mayoral primary victory of Cheh-backed Vincent C. Gray and the subsequent departure of Michelle Rhee, who remains popular in Ward 3; then by the endorsement of the Washington Post's editorial board last week.

While canvassing outside the Tenleytown Metro stop today, Hedgepeth said, "a number of people wanted to talk to me; that hasn't always happened. ... They're happy they have a real choice in this election."

By Mike DeBonis  | October 25, 2010; 2:57 PM ET
Categories:  DCision 2010, The District  
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Comments

An embarrassment to the DC Republican Party? How about an embarrassment to the Washington Post -- Jo-Ann Armao's hits keep on coming. Great due diligence Jo-Ann. Time to give up.

Posted by: duncanjo | October 25, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

At least he admits it and is paying the taxes owed. Better than Kwame Brown who denied he was that in debt until the credit card companies sued him. There are no perfect people in this world.

Posted by: voter20 | October 26, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting to see that the comments section is "closed" on the page that has the original endorsement for Hedgepeth.

Wonder if the editorial board is a bit embarrassed that they didn't vet their "temper tantrum endorsee". Hmmm tax problems-- WAPO surely ripped on CM K Brown for that.

Now, loose lips is saying that Hedgepeth "likes" Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell on Facebook.

Did the esteemed WAPO editorial board endorse a teabagger??? Bwah,ha ha, ha. Absolutely hi-larious.

Posted by: pennquaker | October 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

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