Tom Reed Isn’t the Only Member of Congress With Tax Woes

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Rep. Tom Reed, House Freshmen hold press conference urging senate to pass full year extension of payroll tax cuts
National Journal
Ben Terris
Aug. 19, 2013, 11:38 a.m.

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. 

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