Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Senators Dodd, Lieberman Vote to Install Tax Scofflaw as Treasury Secretary; Perez to Answer Charges

In a 60-30 roll call vote, the Senate has confirmed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.

According to an Associated Press report:

“On this vote, a ‘yes’ vote was a vote to confirm and a ‘no’ vote was a vote against confirmation.

“Voting ‘yes’ were 49 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 1 independent.

“Voting ‘no’ were 3 Democrats, 30 Republicans and 1 independent.”

On Jan 23, the Hartford Courant reported:
“The [Finance] committee vote [in the US Senate] came a day after Geithner appeared before the panel to apologize for what he called 'careless mistakes' in failing to pay $34,000 in taxes earlier in the decade, when he worked at the International Monetary Fund.

Geithner paid the back taxes plus interest for the years 2003 and 2004 after being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. But he did not pay taxes he owed for 2001 and 2002, even though he had made the same mistakes for those years, until shortly before he was nominated by Obama last November to be treasury secretary.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman was not among the independents voting “no.” Lieberman, along with Sen. Chris Dodd, voted in the affirmative. If either senator has been asked to justify his vote, their responses have not received prominent notice in Connecticut newspapers.

Elsewhere on the scofflaw front, Mayor of Hartford Eddie Perez “will walk into a state police barracks this morning and surrender himself on bribery charges, a dramatic step in the corruption probe that has hung over the city and his administration for nearly two years,” according to a story in the Hartford Courant.

A friendly contractor who had received business from Perez’s office, Carlos Costa, also worked on the mayor’s Bloomfield Avenue house without having obtained the proper permits, and some of the work was done by an unlicensed contractor. Although the work was completed in 2006, Perez neglected to pay for it until 2007, after stories concerning the incidents had appeared in the media.

Facing charges of bribery, fabricating evidence and conspiracy to fabricate evidence when he is arrested at the Troop H barracks in Hartford, Perez contends that the whole affair, a mere slip up, is overblown.

The good news is that, unlike the new Treasury Secretary, Perez has not been accused – yet -- of seeking to cheat on his taxes.
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