Politicians Have Trouble With Their Taxes Too

PHOTO: Timothy F. Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, attends a Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2012.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Politicians and policy makers are no strangers to tax trouble. From fumbled deductions to outright fraud, members of both parties have been in the spotlight for their tax payments, or lack thereof.

Whether it's navigating the ins and outs of the self-employment tax or not reporting income, the following law and policy makers have stumbled.

PHOTO: Timothy F. Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, attends a Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2012.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Tim Geithner

Upon his nomination for secretary of the Department of the Treasury in 2008, it emerged that Tim Geithner had not paid $35,000 in self-employment taxes from 2001-2004, when he was working for the International Monetary Fund. Because he was an American citizen working for the international fund, Geithner was technically self-employed. Geithner had other tax problems as well, among them he had misdeducted the cost of his children's time at sleep-away camp, and he had temporarily employed a housekeeper whose work-authorized papers had expired.

Of course, as we know, these problems didn't hurt him too bad. Geithner was eventually confirmed for the job.

PHOTO: Rep. Allen West , R-FL, speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee Feb. 10, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Allen West

Shortly after his victory in 2010, it came out that the Congressman from Florida and Tea Party favorite, had a series of five tax liens for overdue maintenance fees on his home in Plantation, Fla. West has subsequently paid off the charges, and addressed them, acknowledging that his family has faced "financial hardship"- to use his words.

Tom Daschle

The former Senate majority leader was Barack Obama's original pick for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. However, Daschle withdrew his name from consideration after problems surfaced with his tax filings. Dashcle had failed to declare a chauffeur service he'd received from InterMedia partners, a company with whom Daschle had served as a consultant for several years. Daschle also took deductions on charitable donations which, it turned out, did not meet the requirements for being tax deductible.

PHOTO: Charlie Rangel conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to introduce an unemployment insurance extension bill called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2011.
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Charlie Rangel

The former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee--the body responsible for writing tax laws--has a long list of ethics violations under his belt, one of the most prominent of which was his failure to report income from his property in the Dominican Republic. Rangel, D-N.Y., was eventually censured for his violations, but he remains in Congress.

PHOTO: Republican U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and his wife Nancy, are shown during a news conference in this July 14, 2005, photo taken in San Marcos, Calif.
Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo
Randall "Duke" Cunningham

The scandal of the former Congressman from California is a far cry from West's tax liens or Geithner's issues with the self-employment tax. Cunningham is currently serving out an eight-plus year prison sentence in Tucson, Ariz., for a series of felony charges, including tax evasion. In 2005 Cunningham plead guilty to not reporting over $1 million in income between 2001-2004, among other charges. Cunningham had filed false tax returns, hiding income including money acquired through bribes from Defense contractors.

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