Timothy Geithner’s tax pecadillos should disqualify him for the nation’s top tax post. Secretary of the Treasury is too high an office for a brilliant lawyer who repeatedly and apparently knowingly underpaid his taxes by thousands of dollars. But to be fair, neither should Barack Obama be sworn in as President of the United States next Tuesday unless he first produces a valid birth certificate proving that he meets the constitutional prereqs for the nation’s highest office.
The disparity in the level of scrutiny applied to Geithner and Obama is remarkable. On balance, a President’s qualifications for office should be viewed as more essential than those of the Treasury Secretary. Yet, in this case, Geithner’s integrity and transparency are being examined far more closely than Obama’s. Continue reading →
The U.S. Department of Justice took another ethical black eye yesterday, this time from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. The court held — in a widely watched KPMG tax fraud case — that DOJ attorneys illegally interfered with the defendants’ access to legal counsel which is protected under the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
At its launch in October 2005, the DOJ touted the case — against thirteen KPMG partners and employees — as “the largest criminal tax case ever filed.” Perhaps they should have christened it “The Titanic.” In the related press conference, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia proclaimed with requisite gravitas: Continue reading →