Saturday, April 16, 2011
Since Tax Day will be the talk of the weekend, The Daily Beast scoured hundreds of news reports going back to the 1990s to find which political party can claim the most tax offenders. We came up with a list of 25 politicians who have been embroiled in tax scandals over the past two decades.
We devised the following points system to rank them:
• 3 points for each felony tax offense.
• 1 point for each misdemeanor tax offense, or official ethics conviction.
• .5 point for each felony tax indictment.
• .25 point for each misdemeanor tax indictment.
And, because a Congressional tax scandal garners more negative attention than a mayoral tax scandal, we also took the level of public office into account:
• 1 point for a state legislator or mayor.
• 3 points for a U.S. representative, statewide official, or federal lobbyist.
• 5 points for a governor or presidential nominee.
Finally, because come sentencing time the courts tend to favor defendants who plead guilty, we knocked off a point for the scofflaws who pleaded guilty. Ties were broken by the amount of taxes owed, if determinable, or by fine levied.
The verdict? Turns out Republicans have the bigger names—Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham—but Democrats have the most tax scandals by a margin of 18 to 7. ... Republicans and Tea Partiers tend to shout the loudest when it comes to tax reform, and they’re also the most law abiding—when it comes to paying their taxes, anyway.