Thursday, February 19, 2009
Pressure is building on Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel surrounding his failure to pay taxes (and disclose on congressional ethics forms) on his rent-free use of a Capitol Hill townhouse. From the New York Post:
Emanuel is a multimillionaire, but lived for the last five years for free in the tony Capitol Hill townhouse owned by [Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.)] and her husband, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. During that time, he also served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- which gave Greenberg huge polling contracts. It paid Greenberg's firm $239,996 in 2006 and $317,775 in 2008. (Emanuel's own campaign committee has also paid Greenberg more than $50,000 since 2004.) ...
Emanuel never declared the substantial gift of free rent on any of his financial-disclosure forms. He and De Lauro claim that it was just allowable "hospitality" between colleagues. Hospitality -- for five years?
Some experts suggest that it was also taxable income: Over five years, the free rent could easily add up to more than $100,000.
Like Tom Daschle, Timothy Geithner, and Nancy Killefer, the tax issue here seems straighforward and it will be interesting to see what Mr. Emanuel's justification for not paying the taxes due on this very sizeable benefit.