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Geithner Explains Tax Errors, Housekeeper Issue to Senators

Treasury Secretary-designee Tim Geithner, the man charged with turning around the worst U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression, made more than $40,000 worth of mistakes on his tax returns from 2001-04 -- returns that he prepared himself.

The Internal Revenue Service is a branch of Treasury.

Geithner met this afternoon with bipartisan members of the Senate Finance committee to explain why he failed to initially pay self-employment taxes in 2001 and 2002 and why he employed an immigrant as a housekeeper whose working papers had expired shortly before she left her job, The Post's Lori Montgomery reports.

You can see Geithner's tax records here, with amounts redacted.

According to a Democratic aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter has not officially been made public, Geithner made a "common mistake" of failing to file self-employment tax for two of the three years he worked for the International Monetary Fund.

Although they receive W-2 forms, U.S. employees of the IMF are treated on the agency's books as independent contractors and do not have taxes withheld by their employer.

Geithner's tax returns were examined as part of the vetting process when Geithner was picked by President-elect Barack Obama in November. Upon learning of the shortfall, Geithner paid $25,970 to cover the two years' worth of taxes and interest.

Also, in 2006, the IRS told Geithner that he owed an additional $17,230 in self-employment tax and interest for 2003 and 2004, which he paid, bringing his total to $42,702.

Then, there is the housekeeper issue. Also during the vetting process, it was discovered that Geithner and his wife employed an housekeeper in 2004 and 2005 whose working papers expired during her time with them.

According to the source, Geithner told the senators that he and his wife were unaware that his housekeeper's documentation had expired three months before she left their employ to have a baby. Nevertheless, Geithner said, she continued to reside legally in the United States as the wife of a citizen and was granted a green card a few months after.

After Geithner met with the senators, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called Geithner's errors "an honest mistake" and predicted he will be confirmed, possibly before next Tuesday's inauguration.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  January 13, 2009; 4:16 PM ET
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He should do the right thing and withdraw his name from nomination as Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 13, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

It is a little hard to follow the pieces of what happened with the IRS. But, it sounds like there were years where Geithner failed to pay taxes for income reported on a W-2 and the IRS failed to identify the failure and collect. That story is not a good one for either of them. But clearly, under current circumstances, Geithner is one appointee who is close to indispensible.

Posted by: dnjake | January 13, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Why do you say he 'initially' failed to pay taxes? Because he is an Obamocrat? Did Bernie Madoff 'initially' fail to pay taxes? Geithner didn't pay taxes because he thought no one would notice. When he knew he would be under scrutiny he wanted to look good and then paid the taxes.

Posted by: Phil5 | January 13, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone associated with 0 that is not a criminal?

Posted by: PattiORiley | January 13, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry Mr. Obama, the media will cover for you and your appointees because you're all perfect. This is just an itsy bitsy distraction. Change is coming!!!

Posted by: tcdifla | January 13, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Geitner is no better than Al Capone. Of course people from Illinois are special.

Posted by: Phil5 | January 13, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

How can you "just overlook" paying a total of $43,000 taxes over four years?

Posted by: dottie_b | January 13, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

In the Washington swamp, having a tax cheat like d-crat Rangle head the House Ways & Means Tax Panel is probably considered normal and acceptable politics-as-usual. Rangle's motto is : "You pay taxes so I don't have to."

Now that d-crat slimebag will be joined by yet another tax-cheat who will head the entire Treasury Dept.

It's bad enough that the d-crats waste trillions of taxpayer money on useless bailouts and other garbage. It adds insult to injury to have them hand over responsible finance positions to such tax criminals.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | January 13, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh, Nannygate!! It was enough to stop Linda Chavez from being confirmed, will we see a double standard with the Obama nominee? Why?

Posted by: Phil6 | January 13, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

So the IRS wasn't hounding him for the five years between 2001 and 2006? Sounds to me like something's seriously wrong with the IRS when some guy can just not pay over 40K in taxes over 4 or 5 years and not hear anything from the IRS ordering them to do otherwise.

Posted by: bill3 | January 13, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

This is a transparent lie. Every US citizen who works for the IMF or World Bank is very clearly informed of their tax obligations. When I was World Bank staff, they even had someone who did my taxes for me. There aren't many US citizens at either organization (about 10 percent), and they're told outright that they have to pay the IRS.

Rules vary for citizens of other countries.

Posted by: buzzbuzzard | January 13, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really think Tim Geithner will be held to the same standard expected of us? Hell no. I reviewed his tax documents posted on line. It seems clear to me that he intentionally lied and committed tax fraud.

Why is he not arrested or indicted? Crimes by high level politicians are always OK. Is a criminal really indispensable to Obama? What about his Tim Geithner's wife? Why isn't she arrested for also being involved? Little people go to jail for much less but politicians like Tim Geithner get away with murder all in the name of "change".

Posted by: txengr | January 13, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

A great shame. Now watch the Dems scramble to justify the appointment of this scummer.

310M Americans and he just has to be the next SecTreasury. He just has to.

Or the sky will fall.

Thanks much. HLB

Posted by: HLBeckPE | January 13, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

This is so typical of the most transparent bunch of thieves in history.

It doesn't seem to matter to anyone that the presumed appointee to one of the most important financial positions in America is either too stupid, too careless or to arrogant to obey the law.

That, applied to other than dems, is obviously a compelling reason to disqualify.

However, since he is a dem, and it is a bit fuzzy what defines enough to disqualify, he will slide through like a bad bowel movement through new pvc pipe.

Lets review:

Jefferson: found with 90K plus in dirty money in his freezer.

Kennedy: Kills a young lady while drunk driving.

Frank: Operates a gay prostitution house in Georgetown.

Chicago: Enough said.

Do I need to go on?

What a disgustingly immoral place America finds itself - with the head chicago dirtbag soon to be inaugurated - then indicted.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | January 13, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
13 January 2009

I say, "Shame on Timothy Geithner" for failing to pay taxes on income as a "contractor" for the International Monetary Fund!

The fact that he paid all of the taxes due, plus interest, on that income--but only after the vetting process brought his failure to light--does not excuse his failure, considering that at the time he was (and still is) the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | January 13, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice...Real nice. It seems Mr. Giethner is lacking a bit of integrity.

While this puts him on par with 90% of the population, he's up for a position that requires a little bit more than what Joe the Plmummer can get away with... As I recall he hadn't paid his taxes either.

I guess I can see the logic in hiring a crook to catch a crook.

Maybe we should abolish payroll taxes. No one wants to pay them anyway.

Posted by: annabelledickson | January 13, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

lol.. that should be Joe the Plumber not Plmummer.

My apologies.

Posted by: annabelledickson | January 13, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Annabelle - wrong. We should abolish democrats. Or at least the system which shelters them.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | January 13, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The system doesn't shelter the Democrats.

The system shelters the powerful - and under that umbrella are many groups and individuals.

That the Lord, they only make up about 10% of the population. I'd hate to see 20 or 30%...sheesh.

Posted by: annabelledickson | January 13, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang it. That should be Thank the Lord - not That the Lord.

Me thinks I should stop typing now.

Night all.

Posted by: annabelledickson | January 13, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Democrats specialize in petty crimes for personal gain. Republicans specialize in the subversion of public institutions for corporate gain. It should be obvious which one does more damage to the nation.

Posted by: raschumacher | January 13, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The issue of the housekeeper's standing to work in the US sounds trivial, a short lapse in status that Geithner didn't catch. The tax issue is embarrassing for someone being nominated to be Secretary of the Treasury, but it doesn't sound like Geithner was evading payment of federal taxes. He should be questioned closely about this and if that's all it is and there are no other similar problems in his background, then he should be confirmed.

Posted by: Bob22003 | January 13, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Are TARP enriched bank officers and directors required to disgorge their loot or is that why Geithner was inserted in the first place?

AP study finds $1.6B went to bailed-out bank execs
President Clinton's first and second choices for attorney general both withdrew amid allegations that they failed to pay taxes for household help. President George W. Bush's first choice for Labor secretary withdrew after it emerged that she had employed an illegal alien.

On the Economy: For Barack Obama, It's All About Credibility

Posted by: rtfanning | January 13, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is everyone should cut corners when they have a chance. Everyone cheats. Everyone makes little oversights despite the fact that some are extremely smart and powerful people, they wouldn't have gotten there by not noticing details. Again, everyone cheats, take what you can get away with. Take care of yourself. No one else is looking after you despite their political claims.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | January 13, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Geithner does not belong at the Treasury, the Fed, or in any arm of government. If he pulls a fast one on the IRS, why not on you or I? The "everyone does it" aliby won't fly if the IRS catches me. Why let Big Boy Geithner brush it off and be in charge of the country's finances? In addition to withdrawing his nomination, he should pay the full fine and interest of course. Let him seek work where his role would be transparent and reek less of conflict of interest: as lobbyist for Citi or Morgan Stanley.

Posted by: jkoch2 | January 13, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse


Picture America

Posted by: PictureAmerica | January 13, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Repugs are complaining about whatever they can. Losers!
Geithner didn't pay taxes. Big deal. Employed an illegal alien. Big deal.
Repugs are just whiners! Ha, ha.

Posted by: tukuyrikuy | January 13, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The Senate Confirmation Committee will take the Geithner affair into closed session, cut a deal, and then announce his absolution and confirmation. Truth is, most of the elected officials on the Hill have lied to the IRS too and are not eager to come under similar scrutiny. The Senate will annoit Geithner into the Loyal Order of IRS-Scoffing Cavaliers, in exchange for tacit "wink and nod" understanding to keep the IRS at bay in their own private cases. Tut-tut.

Posted by: jkoch2 | January 13, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to know what Geithner was advising Greenspan regarding the easy credit policy that many blame for much of this economic mess. What were his actions? What were his inactions? Was he a passive bureaucrat collecting a $398,000 annual paycheck and enjoying the trappings of being a Fed President? At Treasury is he going to be pro-active in executing his job to the fullest? We need aggressive people in government who are not afraid to speak out not just when things are wrong but even when things SEEM wrong. I am not sure Geithner is one of those people.

Posted by: hz9604 | January 13, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

1. The housekeeper matter, as the WIFE of a US CITIZEN, who apparently had work authorization [that expired, probably during the pendency of her being granted a GREEN CARD is well within an 'acceptable range of common error -- indeed, many immigration lawyers would loose no sleep over this issue and so [unofficially, of course] would convey such a message to their clients. We do not know if she was acting 'under advice of counsel,' but it is absurd to hold the nominee responsible for what well might have been advice of counsel to his housekeeper and attorney-client privilege of the housekeeper would POSSIBLY have justified her silence on the matter.

2. The tax matter -- when one does their own taxes, errors are possible BUT when one uses a professional tax preparing service, the government is FAR MORE LIKELY to loose taxes there, simply because returns prepared by 'professionals' [depending on the professional] are likely to deduct FAR MORE than an individual because they know [or should know] what will likely be challenged and WHAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH most of the time.

Most individuals do not necessarily know IRSs 'hot areas,' so I would suspect that anything W-2ed or 1099ed would likely be reported.

Plus the nominee has paid the taxes.

Posted by: | January 13, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

What in the world is the U.S. turning into? Giving billions to bankers with no ethics or accountability to the an unethical man, Geithner, the nomination for treasury secretary...???? It seems we need another American Revolution for those of us who are being unfairly taxed to support a fraudulant banking system and government!

Posted by: ab4u | January 13, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I think all this proves is that the Tax Code is too complicated. Maybe as Treasury Secretary, after he solves the credit and economic problems, he can do something about the IRS.

And all you ethical people without household employees I'm sure you'd be the first ones in line to pay employment taxes.

Posted by: cardsharky | January 13, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, the taxes were paid when the error was discovered and the part-time housekeeper was married to a US citizen and has now received a green card???

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?? Quit whining this is such a non-issue!

Posted by: hr_demon | January 13, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Geither should follow Richardson's example and quit being a distraction. Can't have a secretary of treasury who is fuzzy on tax rules. The last time I checked, the IRS is part of the treasury department.

The last thing we need is for somebody to have to say "Heckuva job, Tim-may" in the not too distant future.

Posted by: billmosby | January 13, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I love to read the hater comments on these articles. He paid taxes but ommitted the self employment tax; easy to do if you get a W-2 as opposed to a 1099. When apprised of the error he paid the taxes and penalties. The amounts are large because he makes a lot of money. He'll be taking a huge paycut to run Treasury and we'll be lucky to get someone of his calibre to commit to public service. If anyone wants to send me one of their tax returns I can find an error or ommission in less than an hour on ANYONES return. Calling Obama's cabinet picks criminals compared to either of the last two presidents appointees (i.e Cheney, Morris) is laughable.

Posted by: jhstoneca | January 13, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that this report is accurate an unbiased, this is nuts if he gets confirmed.

Posted by: bermudml | January 13, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

This is not good news on the tax issue given his financial expertise. However, I can relate to the house keeper issue. I am sure he has much better things to do than spending his time checking her immigration status after initially verifying her employment status.

He will be confirmed nonetheless by the Senate simply because he is the best person for the job at this critical time...

Posted by: citystreet | January 13, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"it doesn't sound like Geithner was evading payment of federal taxes. He should be questioned closely about this and if that's all it is and there are no other similar problems in his background, then he should be confirmed.

Posted by: Bob22003 | January 13, 2009 5:38 PM"

Bob, I don't know how you draw that conclusion. Read the documents on Politico. He clearly knew his responsibilities to pay his taxes for his IMF tenure. He also clearly ignored them.

Posted by: jimcardillo | January 13, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Just another common liar and white-collar government crook. Obama's government is getting to be full of them with Clinton heading the list.

Posted by: surfer-joe | January 13, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, we can already see what kind of support our president is going to get from republicans. ZERO. I wish the Obama haters would just leave my country already. I'm just glad Obama now has control of the CIA and wiretaps so we can put you idiots on a list.

FYI. Salaries through certain international agencies or foreign posts are not always taxable.

Posted by: Stephen431 | January 13, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his new Team must keep a careful watch on any one coming from the Bush Administration. Bottom line, most of them are immoral, dishonest, one sided and yes men/women. They do not have bones to speak truth and they do not know, what is truth but to fool each other. How come the man, who is going to take care of our 10 trillion dollar economy did not know, whether he has to pay social security tax or not and has paid or not for the last 5+ years!? If I do the same mistake may be end-up in jail or bankrupted.

Posted by: citysoilverizonnet | January 13, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Geithner must have went to the Charlie rangel tax Center for advice. Of course if the IRS catches you doing this , yr toast. But lets all calm down, politicians, especially the ones voted into power, get treated better then you do, thats been the case since the beginning of time. You didnt believe that Obama line about changing the way washington does business , did you ?, if you did yr a sucker, I didnt so I'm not surprised. Change you can believe in ? ha ha

Posted by: snapplecat07 | January 13, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

This tax issue is more than embarassing but also very common. In late 2006, the IRS offered a settlement initiative to current & former employees of international organizations like the IMF, noting that "The IRS estimates that as many as half of the employees subject to U.S. tax either fail to report their wages, claim deductions they are not entitled to, incorrectly establish SEP/IRA retirement plans, fail to pay self-employment tax or fail to file tax returns at all." Geithner missed that one too.,,id=164367,00.html

One would hope that the director of the Fund's Policy Development & Review Department would be smarter than half of the employees of the Fund when it came to his personal income tax, but perhaps something good will come of this. Maybe now he will make tax code simplification one of his priorities--which would benefit all of us.

Posted by: Hope4thefuture | January 13, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is the tax code and the IRS regulations are so complex, confounding and confusing that despite one's best efforts to understand them, mistakes are quite easy to make. Perhaps now that the person in charge of overseeing the IRS has fallen victim to its inherent illogic and inconsistencies (i.e. here is a W-2, which means you are an employee, but make sure you remember to file your self employment tax, which is required if you are not an employee) there will be some actual movement on tax reform.

Posted by: Esquire95 | January 13, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The excuses here for Geithner are pathetic.

He was audited and found delinquent on taxes he KNEW were not deducted from his pay. But even if you excuse him for that "oversight," how do you excuse the fact that he simply ignored the two years earlier AFTER the "oversight" was brought to his attention?

That's not innocent. It's outright evasion.

For the record, I didn't understand his selection in the first place. He is one of the main players who helped to get us into this mess. Who can trust him to get US out of it? Especially now that we know he is a cheat?

Posted by: infuse | January 13, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

If he gets in at least we will know who we can bribe to get money from the government or get special favors.

So it can't be all bad.

Surfer-joe is an idiot and un-American. You must not have read the tax documents. According to you if you don't like the Chicago crime boss then leave America. Geithner can't look you in the eye and tell you the truth. Obama cannot either.

Posted by: txengr | January 13, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Come on Washington Post. Stop sugar coating. Where are your investigators? A PHONE CALL to the IMF and you will find that Americans there are clearly explained their tax liabilities. In fact most of them make quarterly payments so that they don't end up with a huge tax liability at the end of the year. Geithner tried to get away with stealing from the IRS, meaning Treasury, the place he is suppose to head. He got caught and paid 2 DAYS before the nomination. Come on WP. Be real journalists. Is Geithner God? Surely he can be replaced.

Posted by: RoseL1 | January 13, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Good to see how the GOP is digging deep and finding mistakes on Democratic appointees. Now it's good no one will look into Diane Feinstein's husband Richard Blum's illegal Govenment contracts which he didn't pay taxes or Pelosi's husband's Govenment Contract which he to didn't pay taxes. Harry Reid has been doing so many illegal land deals he can't remember all of them and not one had taxes applied. If we were to see over the 8 year Bush Crime Spree how many Law Makers and Friends of the White House didn't pay taxes the US Treasury would have a big surplus. Ask Halliburton where's the US taxes they owe.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | January 13, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Let's be clear about the facts Rosel_1:

Geithner paid his taxes on a quarterly basis, as he was expected to, and he paid his own share of his social security taxes.

What he did not do was pay the employer's share of his social security tax (as if he was self-employed). I guarantee you (from personal experience) that if you use Quicken or another similar program to do your own taxes as an IMF emplpoyee, you wil not be prompted to include the employer's share of your Social Security taxes on your return.

I'm not excusing his mistake, but let's be clear about what the man did and what he did not do.

Posted by: Hope4thefuture | January 13, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

An honest mistake -- says the Senator from Montana. Has anyone looked at the tax returns of Senator Max Baucus? Change you can believe in -- What a crock.

Posted by: BeanCounter49 | January 13, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

This seems obviously worse than the employment mistakes that killed the nominations of Zoe Baird and Linda Chavez. Why isn't this on the front page? Why is it OK for him but not for them?

And yes, "he paid them when he found out"--in order to get a Cabinet job. Really impressive. He'll be on top of the tax situation as Treasury secretary.

Posted by: Arlington2 | January 13, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

sounds like our treasury secretary elect doesn't like to pay those nasty self employment taxes for social security/medicaid. Maybe he, like the rest of us, knows its not going to be there when he retires.

Posted by: gjnader | January 13, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

a treasury secretary that doesn't pay his taxes.

a secretary of state that lied about snipers chasing her around the airport in bosnia.

a commerce secretary (gov from nm) who was demanding "pay for play" in his state.

a chief of staff who is allegedly involved in a 'high bid contest' for obama's vacated senate seat.

obama investigates obama and finds that obama wasn't involved with blagojevich.

yup. we're off to a good start.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | January 13, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing difficult or confusing about the tax rules applicable. Mr. Geithner should promptly withdraw his name from consideration.

Posted by: jpowers285 | January 13, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this people want to excuse Geithner's conscience fraud in order to support Obama's all think the IRS codes are only for the common American, not those who govern our country? By the way, this has nothing to do with political affiliation or position held, we all should be held to the same standard. I expect Obama and his many advisors to consider personal ethics and character when nominating persons to help him guide our country through this complex time in our history. I will not turn blind, deaf and dumb when speaking up can help promote honesty and integrity, which I expect of Obama himself...not selective ignorance. No more games, greedy games have gotten us where we are today. The pyramid schemes and shell games have gutted our entire economy. If you are a player, you are on notice to be held accountable....I think...alas, if you have a penthouse. Sickening how the laws are prostituted, it seems our whole government has the stench of prostitution...time to hose the whole system down. Obama needs to be held accountable for who he nominates, no excuses.

Posted by: ab4u | January 13, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. Tim Geithner is now a drag on the Obama presidency. Tim should do the right thing and withdraw his name. Just like Rahm Emmanuel is planning on doing.

Posted by: Phil6 | January 13, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

don't all democraps get a pass? double standard applies. If it weren't for republicans there wouldn't be any decency in the USA.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | January 13, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Zoe Baird and Linda Chavez were hung out to dry for far less. Sounds like a double standard for men and women. Let's see an interview with Timothy Geithner's house cleaner!!

Posted by: Phil6 | January 13, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

And the lame excuses continue for well-heeled people who CHEAT until caught, and then think there's nothing wrong with such "innocent" behavior.

Deliberate evasion of taxes is a crime. And everything reported here says he deliberately evaded paying for 2001 and 2002 after he was caught for 2003-2004. And to top that, the IRS WAIVED penalties for what they did find. Who else gets that kind of treatment?

Posted by: infuse | January 13, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to give the Obama team the benefit of the doubt, but this is ridiculous.

At a time when Americans have lost faith in Wall Street and the incessant bailouts to banks because of their ineptitude, we're going to nominate someone who can't even manage his own taxes to control the U.S. purse strings?

Give us a break. Surely Obama can find someone for Treasury that pays their taxes and doesn't hire illegal aliens. If a person can make mistakes like that, how can he be trusted with our country's funds?

This nomination should be withdrawn!!

Posted by: Wildfire1 | January 13, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

To make matters even worse, Obama's team discovered the crime, and still thought his appointment should cause no concern. How far removed from Main Street is that?

Posted by: infuse | January 13, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

with all the partisan stuff going on, has ANYONE bothered to note the real issue?

The tax code is goobledygook.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 13, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Dear zcezcest1,
If the tax code is such goobledygook to you, then please pay to have your taxes done. P.S. especially if you plan to hold public office; if you don't get your taxes done professionally and then don't accept nomination for public office/

Posted by: ab4u | January 13, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

My kid is a 24 yo computer programmer, not the next head of the Treasury/IRS. He knows enough to pay his social security / medicare taxes (personal and contractor share = 15%+ total) and estimated taxes as well. The fact that Geitner was caught by the IRS for an audit covering 2 yrs, paid up, and then again overlooked the prior two years that the IRS didn't audit, indicates a character flaw. Not to be suprised though, Rangel and Dodd share the same ethics. Oh, and he thought that scout camp was a child care expense... haw haw haw.

The stench of corruption hangs low over the Obama transition as Richardson and Clinton and Emmanuel and Dodd and Rangel and Blago and Holder are pulled into the vortex. Soon trillions of federal dollars will be splooged into the nimble old hands of these appointed kleptocrats.

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 13, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

So Obama knew of this in November and did nothing!~ Anyone else goes to jail this guy gets to run the IRS and the Treasury nad he 'forgets' to pay his taxes!~ Yeah right!~ Remember Nannie gate? This guy needs to withdraw and BO finds someone who can add and substrat. Great start BO. Hey what about that illegal aunt you have stashed away in Chicago under federal protection. Something else you forgot? Just trading one sleaze for another and you are not even in office yet!~

Posted by: KBlit | January 13, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse your verbage Georgejones5..."tirllions of federal dollars with be splooged"...and bravo to your son, he has learned well...keep up the honesty

Posted by: ab4u | January 13, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

We have someone heading up the Treasury Dept that doesn't even know how to do his own taxes??? Not to mention the illegal alien part.

What's wrong with this picture? Why is this not a HUGE issue?

Posted by: playfair109 | January 13, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

GEIGTNER Knew what He was doing, Period!! - He is just another Crook from the Criminal FEDERAL RESERVE,- a private Corporation, acting as a government agent,- but Bleeding OUR Nation Out of $Billions of Dollars!! End-the-Fed, & Abolish the Federal Reserve Act!!! If President OBAMA stands up for the FED, tehn He must also be in Bed with these Global Economic Terrorists!! "and without Firing a Shot"! da!!

Posted by: jward52 | January 13, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

How ironic that the person designated as Treasury Secretary has not paid his taxes.

And for all of the Democrats that think Republicans are whiners:

Republicans are equal OPPORTUNITY, Democrats are equal OUTCOME.

Posted by: okiegal1 | January 13, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Someone ought to go back and see what if any information the IMF provided to its employees who were U.S. citizens regarding U.S. tax issues.

Frankly it's kind of hard for me to believe that U.S. employees of the IMF weren't made aware that they were responsible for the self-employment tax since no payroll tax was withheld. But if other former IMF employees come forward and say that they were never apprised of these facts, then I'd reluctantly give Geithner the benefit of the doubt.

As someone who paid self-employment taxes for many years I can't say I'm thrilled that this guy who ignored them is going to be the Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | January 13, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | January 13, 2009 5:21 PM

This is so typical of the most transparent bunch of thieves in history.

It doesn't seem to matter to anyone that the presumed appointee to one of the most important financial positions in America is either too stupid, too careless or to arrogant to obey the law.

That, applied to other than dems, is obviously a compelling reason to disqualify.

However, since he is a dem, and it is a bit fuzzy what defines enough to disqualify, he will slide through like a bad bowel movement through new pvc pipe.

Lets review:

Jefferson: found with 90K plus in dirty money in his freezer.

Kennedy: Kills a young lady while drunk driving.

Frank: Operates a gay prostitution house in Georgetown.

Chicago: Enough said.

Do I need to go on?

What a disgustingly immoral place America finds itself - with the head chicago dirtbag soon to be inaugurated - then indicted.

Now me - what a crock

It happens on boths sides my friend.

Larry Craig - tries to have sex in a mens room.

Ronald Reagan breaks the law by having Ollie North (remember that scumbag - "sometimes you have to go above the constitution") trade to arm both the Nicaraguans (check spelling) and the Iranians.

Michael Deaver - drug addict.

Rush Limbaugh - drug addict.

Jack Abramhoff - wonderful criminal, and yet parades as a religous man - putz.

Jack Ney - it was the alcohol that led him to crime - yea right.

Randy Cunningham - never met a bribe he did not like.

The list goes on.

Posted by: misfit614 | January 13, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I really thought Geithner was that rarest of breeds -- an honest man on Wall Street.

Not so. The story is implausible. Even TurboTax would almost certainly flag such a problem, and it's not credible that he didn't know the rules in the first place.

He's probably toast, though if he somehow slides through every taxpayer with an IRS problem will break out the champagne.

Posted by: CallMeLiberal | January 13, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

If he were black or a woman he'd be outta there.

Posted by: faithfulservant3 | January 13, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Another bum. Just like the Clintons.

Posted by: Phil5 | January 13, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Phil5 - You don't get the economy or have the foggiest clue as to the technical role that the SOT plays do you? Otherwise why else would you be trying to politicize the nomination of Geithner.

My friends, if I've learned anything of late it's that there's two kinds of Republicans. The fiscally smart and financially savvy ones and the hell freak fake Christian verity. Fortunately the former type is well on board with the Geithner appointment as they realize that having a highly experienced, practical appointment as SOT is paramount to getting us out of the financial mess we're in.

My bold prediction is that the Repubs are going to lose this faction of their party in 2012 when they "go nuclear" in their selection of the next POTUS candidate in order to appease their culture warrior base. Unfortunately for the Repubs this culture warrior faction is not as large as they believe it is. In the end they'll realize the party did itself in in order to cater to the misguided whims of a vocal minority.

Posted by: htruman | January 13, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Dear HTruman,
Pot calling the kettle black? You want an unethical tax cheat as SOT? Do you understand the importance to the position?

Posted by: ab4u | January 13, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

All, ALL of the wall street heads that accepted funds from TARP are HUGE contributors to the Democratic Party. Why am I not surprised that the nominee for Treasury, another wall street corner office tax-cheater is no different????

I do not care how SMART? he is but why are we going to confirm a known tax cheat???

Posted by: jhpbriton | January 13, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding me! Can you imagine if Sarah Palin had done this? The media would be having field day. The left-wing media would have sent team of "investigators" to produce stories about this for the next two weeks. Then we would get the inevitable "investigation" widens stories.

Posted by: get_it_right | January 13, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Hit the road Timmy. If you, like Charlie "Rent Control" Rangel, can't pay your taxes until you are caught then you have no business in the government.

Posted by: fenoy | January 13, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

jward52 ummmmmm, hate to inform you but, ummm the gold standard caused the great depression. End of story. Period.

Questions for you in case you doubt this based on some gold coin collection commercial you heard on Fox:

--What country had the most robust economic growth during the depression? (answer --Czechoslovakia -- what a coincidence, but turns out that it wasn't on the gold standard.)

--What happens when one or two countries stockpile all of the world's gold reserves (answer -- once again we experienced this during the great depression when the US and France held approx 80% of known gold reserves precipitating a breakdown in global trade which was exacerbated by Smoot-Hawley)

--What happens when the global economy grows by say 6% in a given year, but the World's known gold reserves expand by only 1 or 2% (the historical peak)? (answer either you scale back economic growth to appease the currency to gold conversion rate (i.e. stifle growth), or the transaction currency's conversion factor declines -- also known as inflation, because as it turns out economic growth is generally synonymous with inflation -- higher living standards equals more demand pull)

--What is the impact of corporate productivity and bottom lines from requiring that gold shipments support international trade? Think about it, how else would nations enforce the gold standard other than to require the physical delivery of gold in order to meet their balance of trade? (answer -- yes this is how it used to work back in the days of the gold standard… and by the way do you fully comprehend how (i) retarded and (ii) unpractical of solution this was and would be?!!!?)

--What precipitated the decline of the Spanish Empire? (answer -- the massive accumulation of gold that it acquired through pillaging South America severely undermined the country’s trading competitiveness. Don’t believe me, read David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. For the record Ricardo had a big influence on Friedman).

Bottom line, although we may disagree on some aspects I have full respect for the fiscally conservative, pragmatic business wing of the Republican Party. However this fake Christian, misinformed gold-bug, war hawk faction of the Repubs has got to go! Party of Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, I challenge you to rise and reclaim your party before it becomes the mired in the laughing stock of these clowns. Tell the fake Christina repubs to take a hike. Maybe they can start a new party whose platform is the media sucks and life’s not fair!!!

Posted by: htruman | January 13, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Dear ab4u -- Since you threw your hat into the ring I challenge you to refute any one of my Q & A's above.

Have fun burying gold and silver in your backyards suckers!

Too bad none of you fake Christian Republicans realize that the enforcement of property rights has a more profound stabilizing effect on the economy and prices than an over the top, midieval interpretation of the currency base.

Posted by: htruman | January 13, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Um, hold it.

This guy used to work for the IMF?

And you want to put him in charge of Treasury?


I'm speechless.

Posted by: thardman | January 13, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone explain why they get W2's and not 1099's? That seems peculiar.

If he used tax software, it might not pick up the need to pay self-employment tax. (Apparently, he paid the income tax but not the self-employment tax.) If he filed on Schedule C, it would have picked it up. He probably didn't file Schedule C, but used the straight 1040.

Posted by: StanKlein | January 13, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, Hank Paulsen handed out billions to his buddies...I wonder what this guy will do. Corruption we can believe in. Well, you can't say he will feel out of place in an Obama administration...

Posted by: rjjrdq | January 13, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

As a US citizen employed many years ago by the IMF’s sister organization, The World Bank, I find it improbable that Mr. Geithner did not know he had to pay these taxes. Most Americans I knew were well too aware of the obligation and complained about it. The president-elect should ask Larry Summers, his pick to head the National Economic Council in the White House, how believable Mr. Geithner’s story is. As a former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Mr. Summers no doubt groused under the burden. That the IRS did not look beyond the two years uncovered in the audit and waived the penalties may reflect badly on the agency but it reflects even worse on Mr. Geithner, who should have fessed up and paid up instead of hoping he would not be caught a second time. The status of the housekeeper is a very minor issue indeed in comparison with the tax evasion.

Posted by: chasthos | January 13, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Politicians , especially politicians who belong to the ruling party are held to diff standards then the rest of us. If you really expected "change you could believe in" then you were a sucker. I'm not surprised, I knew Ob was just another car salesman with great lines. Once they get you in the car and your off the lot. Its over.
"Change" ha ha

Posted by: snapplecat07 | January 13, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! The taxes aren't that hard,and this guy is going to be treasury secretary???????? Either he is too dumb for the job, cause the IMF DOES tell all employees about the taxes..........or he simply just didn't pay them......which makes him just plain old dishonest. Not a good way to start, Mr. Obama, not good at all.

Posted by: phyllisgarcia54 | January 13, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say that the fake Christian repubs would almost have a point on this one, almost that is until you realize that was this same group of jackals that was going on and on and on and on (with the help of "Joe the Plumber" and Sarah Palin no less) about how it’s unpatriotic to pay taxes.

Remember the VP debate? Anyone, anyone?

Oh well, I can see that this is going to be an entertaining 8 years.
In closing my question for Geithner naysayers is who would you prefer be named SOT?

Posted by: htruman1 | January 13, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Um, hold it.

This guy used to work for the IMF?

And you want to put him in charge of Treasury?


I'm speechless.

Posted by: thardman | January 13, 2009 9:40 PM


Um where do you propose that he should have come from? Should he have been a Sunday school teacher at Sarah Palin's church. Oh, I know, or even better yet a former oil company exec or from Halliburton?

Gotta say I do not quite understand where the hardliner right is forming its perception of what makes someone qualified to oversee capital markets.

Posted by: htruman1 | January 13, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Dear HTruman1,

Your entertainment values must include Boston Legal...I asked if you understand the importance of the SOT position within our government...are you a tax cheat also?

Posted by: ab4u | January 13, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama falls into the same mess as Bush. You have all of these 'experts' who you can put your faith in. But, unfortunately, most of them are just a bunch of crooks. They have no respect for law, as it applies to them, but have wonderful insightful knowledge. Like, "How can I earn all of this money, but I don't have to pay taxes? Wow, I think I'll earn more money as Secretary of Treasury...and maybe I won't have to pay taxes on that salary, either."
The bottom line is that Washington is so full of thieves and self interest groups, that these little comments mean nothing.
We can air our outrage, but, the scoundrels will prevail.

Posted by: oncearepublican | January 13, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Every US citizen who works at the IMF/World Bank knows their status as a "contractor" and their tax obligations.

Posted by: Springfield3 | January 13, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really think Tim Geithner will be held to the same standard expected of us? Hell no. I reviewed his tax documents posted on line. It seems clear to me that he intentionally lied and committed tax fraud.

Why is he not arrested or indicted? Crimes by high level politicians are always OK. Is a criminal really indispensable to Obama? What about his Tim Geithner's wife? Why isn't she arrested for also being involved? Little people go to jail for much less but politicians like Tim Geithner get away with murder all in the name of "change".

Posted by: txengr | January 13, 2009 5:15 PM


txengr - Since when is the President of the New York Federal Reserve a politician? Do you repubs know anything?

Have fun burying gold in your backyards and "timing the market" jacka$$$$$$$

Posted by: htruman1 | January 13, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

htruman, SOT s/b someone who pays his taxes when they are due, not lie about "not knowing". He knew, he didnt want to pay.
He lied, why is this such a tough standard ? Considering the total lack of confidence the avg US citizen has in its financial and gov institutions, you would think that the SOT s/b one with at least a clean tax record. The nanny thing sounds believable, but the TAX bs ? you gotta be kidding. Yeah Bush and cheney may be dirty but some people expected a "change".

Posted by: snapplecat07 | January 13, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

You are missing part of the point. He didn't just fail to pay the IRS the SE tax that was due. Look at the documents attached to the article. He applied for and took the money from the IMF promising to pay it over to the IRS and instead pocketed it.

That is stealing $40K from his employer over 3 years and then compounding it by failing to pay the IRS. People go to jail for that.

We want him as the Treasury Secretary?? Why??? How about basic honesty first.

Posted by: albob66z | January 13, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Why yes ab4u, um I actually do. And contrary to your limited perspective the basis of that position is not to oversee the IRS, its um actually kind of more of a macroeconomic post. Hence that's why the SOT and the Fed Chairman and the IMF, and etc, and etc tend to work in close proximity with each other to monitor the global capital markets. I realize that you hardliner Republicans would like to boil everything down to a matter of relative morality but in this case (especially given the financial turmoil we find ourselves in!) I think I'll opt for a proven technocrat who has an outstanding grasp of the pickle we're in.

With regards to the Boston Legal stuff, I have no idea where that comes from. Is it a TV show? If so I've never watched it. Sorry to disappoint but my sources are influential CIOs of investment management companies, economists, and hedge fund managers. Many of which are fiscal Republicans who strongly approve of the Geithner appointment. And, um if you had any clue as to what the SOT does you might have noticed the huge bounce the DOW experienced upon receiving the news of Geithner's appointment.

There's no substitute for knowing the facts ab4u. I truly feel a sense of pity for you knee jerk reaction, hardliner Republicans because the influence and respectability of your breed is in for some hard times buddy. Gotta pay to play, gotta have some clue as to how technical matters work if you’re gonna swim with the technocrats.

Posted by: htruman1 | January 13, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse


You obviously have no concern as to whether a capable and innovative individual is chosen for what is essentially an economist post. You just want to whine and whine about how the change moniker is unfulfilled. My point is that I have no political affiliation with Geithner, he could have been a Republican for all I care. There are plenty of capable Republicans in this field. What I, and many concerned people in the financial industry want is an able and informed hand running the show at this post. He can cheat on his wife, heckle little league games, whatever it is that gets you riled up from a moralistic standpoint (knock yourself out!). I don't care! So long as he knows how to put humpy dumpy market economy back together again our country needs his input.

And for the record if Geithner was just a money hungry hog he would have absolutely no problem working for a hedge fund or somewhere else in the financial field at $10 million instead of $180,000 at the NY Fed. So if he's money hungry me thinks he's a fool, otherwise he must have a genuine interest in working on behalf of his country.

As far as this isn’t change, this isn't change do you really think that Obama is going to know every facet of about all of the staff that works for him? Get real and quite being so naive. With Bush we had, um Gonzales and Karl Rove. Yippy those were the glory days, but hey he didn't have an affair with Monica so he was a good president.

And btw, you hardliner repubs have yet to demonstrate one ounce of knowledge on the subject of what a SOT does. Typical, just like your ranting and raving about the constitution. Turns out you don't know a darn thing. I suspect that anytime someone offered to inform your team you quickly cut them off and told them that you know everything.

Lots of luck in meritocratic increasingly competitive world we’re moving into :(

Posted by: htruman1 | January 13, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. Geithner was appointed by Bush to be president of the NY Federal Reserve Bank in 2003. Wasn't he vetted then?

Posted by: mholsen1 | January 13, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Where are the earlier comments?

Posted by: taxpayer5 | January 14, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

this looks like STEALING to me when someone is given the money by the IMF and signs for it, and then pockets it. Only later does he get caught by the IRS and then gets caught by Obama team. And then pays it back.
Looks like major character issues here--
This fox is going to be in charge of the coop?? WHAAAT????

Posted by: genuardiguy | January 15, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

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