Obama Must Withdraw Geithner Nomination

Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today made the following statement:

President-elect Obama should withdraw Timothy Geithner’s nomination for Treasury Secretary. Obama says that middle–class families with incomes of $250,000 are wealthy and their taxes should be raised, but he wants a Wall Streeter who didn’t pay his taxes to be his point man on the economy.

The amount of unpaid taxes — $42,000 — may sound like pocket change to Geithner and his Wall Street buddies, but it is a lot of money on Main Street.

Geithner’s claim that he didn’t know he was supposed to pay taxes doesn’t pass the laugh test. It is true that American citizens who work for the IMF are responsible for the employer’s share of the payroll tax, but IMF employment includes generous pay and a host of other perks. Anyone who has ever worked there is well versed on the details because it is such great deal.

Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner are the architects of our bailout policies, where ordinary taxpayers are forced to subsidize the wealthy, who are not allowed to go broke, no matter how spectacular their failures. Geithner was a poor choice, and his failure to pay his taxes proves it.

Charles Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, did not report or disclose years of rental income on a Dominican Republic beach house and claims he did nothing wrong. His committee writes the tax laws. Now we have a Treasury nominee who for years failed to pay his payroll taxes and we are again told that he did nothing wrong. Will the same officials who plan to raise our taxes ever take responsibility for paying theirs?

NLPC promotes ethics in public life and sponsors the Government Integrity Project.