Conservatives Find Next Obama Tax Cheat in Rahm's Basement
It's all our fault! We thought it was pathetically hilarious that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel lived in a basement apartment on Capitol Hill. But right-wingers want to make it a tax scandal.
The Unification Church-owned Washington Times reports that the same tax rule that nailed Tom Daschle could get Emanuel in trouble. Here's why: The White House chief of staff hasn't paid taxes on the lodging given to him by Rosa DeLauro, a Democratic Congresswoman from Connecticut, and her husband Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who got rich after working for the Clinton White House.
The arrangement looked a little fishy. When Gawker raised questions about whether DeLauro and Greenberg's home was zoned for a rental, DeLauro revealed that she had not been charging Emanuel rent for the past five years. Accepting free rent from DeLauro may not have been a violation of House ethics rules, as long as Emanuel received a waiver from the House Standards Committee. He has not yet produced evidence of such a waiver — but whatever, he might get his wrist spanked.
Here's what has Emanuel-hunting conservatives excited: Even if the House okayed the free-rent deal, the IRS might still consider Emanuel's free rent to be what the tax agency calls "imputed income".
Imputed income is what caught Daschle. A lobbying firm for which he did consulting work provided him with a car and driver; he owed the IRS taxes on the value of that service, but did not pay the bill — around $140,000 — until this month, when the problem was caught in the process of vetting him as Barack Obama's Health and Human Services nominee. Under fire, he withdrew from consideration. Free rent, a perk often extended to corporate executives, is considered income under the same rules. But very few corporate execs get free rent in basements. So good luck with that, conservatives.
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