Republican Rep. Tom Reed isn’t great at paying his taxes. Over the weekend, a story from The Buffalo News reported that the New York lawmaker has been late 38 times paying his property taxes since 2005. Having paid $3,486.51 in late fees, Reed is now on the right side of the law, but as a member of the committee that actually writes tax law it’s more than embarrassing.
At least he has plenty of company. For it turns out that several members of Congress aren’t so into writing that check to the government. Below are just a few examples. (And no, these are not acts of Thoreauvian civil disobedience or libertarian antitax protests.)
1) Republican Rep. Jon Runyan of New Jersey earned millions of dollars (and a reputation as a “dirty player”) as a lineman in the NFL. That didn’t stop him from being late on 33 property-tax payments. But that’s not even his most notable tax issue (or at least not his strangest). For years, Runyan has had a handful of miniature donkeys grazing on his property, helping him avoid paying the full tax rate on 20 out of his 23 acres of land.
2) Earlier this year WMUR in New Hampshire reported that Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster owed nearly $11,000 in late property-tax bills. The television station also noted that Kuster has been delinquent on more than $40,000 in property taxes over the past three years. And it’s not because she’s poor. The Center of Responsive Politics estimated her net worth to be around $1.8 million.
3) Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, has been dogged by his fair share of tax issues over the years. The former car salesman was assessed nearly $1.4 million in unpaid state taxes, interest, and fees in 2006, according to the Associated Press. Last year, Renacci’s opponent former Rep. Betty Sutton made a big deal of the Republican’s attempt to “avoid paying taxes on nearly $14 million” (italics ours), a statement that was rated “true” by Politifact.
4) Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida may be the champion of IRS problems in the House of Representatives. Between 1994 and 2002 the Republican found himself in the midst of a tax fight that ended up costing him about $2.5 million ($1.2 million for what he originally owed, plus another $1.3 in late fees and interest). Buchanan has also found himself swimming in an alphabet soup of investigating offices over the years (DOJ, FBI, IRS, FEC).
5) Fellow Floridian Rep. Steve Southerland too has been late on his fair share. The Republican’s company Machrise paid property taxes on a number of properties late at least 27 times from 1995 to 2012.
Correction: WMUR is a televsion station, not a radio station.
What We're Following See More »
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.