Paying his dues at Treasury


We’ve been wondering why the Senate Finance committee took so long to schedule a confirmation hearing for Treasury secretary-designate Timothy Geithner.

It may have to do with a tax problem:

Timothy F. Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for Treasury secretary, failed to pay more than $34,000 in federal taxes over several years early this decade, and also faces questions about the employment papers of a former household employee, suddenly complicating what had seemed to be an easy confirmation process in the Senate.

Hard to know what to make of this. Geithner repaid the back taxes, with interest, after the Obama team discovered the problem. And the immigration bit seems like a non-story: The housekeeper was authorized to work in the United States, but her authorization expired during the last three months of her employment with Geithner.

On the other hand: A Treasury secretary who didn’t pay a big chunk of his tax bill? Almost as bad as a Ways & Means committee chairman who doesn’t understand the tax code.

What do you think? Is the tax issue a distraction from much bigger economic problems? Or should it affect Geithner’s nomination?


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