Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Is Tim Geithner Any Different Than Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood Bernard Kerik or Linda Chavez?

Yesterday, we discussed Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee's failure to pay taxes and questionable hiring of undocumented workers. Members of Congress and the Obama Administration see nothing wrong with his actions as he conveniently paid the back taxes days before his nomination. But we wanted to dust off the cobwebs and take a look at other Cabinet nominees who withdrew for the similar practices of which Geithner is accused.

Zoe Baird was Bill Clinton's first unsuccessful nominee for attorney general in 1993. She withdrew her name from consideration for the attorney general position when it was learned that she had hired illegal aliens to serve as her chauffeur and nanny, and neglected to pay their social security taxes.

Judge Kimba Wood was Bill Clinton's second unsuccessful nominee for attorney general in 1993. Like Clinton's previous nominee, Zoe Baird, Wood had hired an undocumented immigrant as a nanny; although, unlike Baird, she had paid the required taxes on the employee and had broken no laws (Wood employed the undocumented immigrant at a time when it was legal to do so), the threat of a repetition of the same controversy ultimately led to a withdrawal of the nomination.

And Bernard Kerik....Federal prosecutors have told Bernard B. Kerik, whose nomination as homeland security secretary in 2004 ended in scandal, that he is likely to be charged with several felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping.

And Linda Chavez...In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Chavez for Secretary of Labor. She was the first Hispanic woman nominated to a United States cabinet. She withdrew the nomination after it was revealed, through her neighbor Margaret "Peggy" Zwisler, that she had allegedly given money to Marta Mercado, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who lived in her home more than a decade earlier. Contrary to some reports, Chavez did not actually employ Mercado, but provided her with emergency assistance due to the domestic abuse the woman had been facing at the time.

Geithner is a well-educated man with vast experience in the financial sector, but can we trust him to lead America out of recession and run the IRS when he simply "forgot" to pay taxes that he "misunderstood"?

Related: Politico has obtained the following talking points, which sources say the Obama team is circulating to defend Treasury Secretary-designee Timothy Geithner, who is facing questions over whether he employed an undocumented worker and paid all appropriate taxes.

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