Topic: "Yella Rose a Taxes"(4)
Frodo, in all seriousness, has little patience with scofflaws, and that is particularly so when it comes to the issue of taxation. Frodo is, however, not of such an ideological mindset as are those whose entire political philosophy hinges on their personal tax liabilities. Frodos' life experiences have included some unique exposure to the process of taxation, and he is one who truly believes that "Taxes are the price we pay for liberty." His opinions and his knowledge are much better than most.
Frodo knows that every candidate for national political office, and every consequential national political appointee is screened for conformance with the tax laws of the United States. The IRS receives a "Type X" request, which carries a mandatory 3-day response, for every potential candidate or nominee, resulting in certification of "fact-of-filing." Within the process, the subject "taxpayer" suffers a review of returns to identify any questionable inclusions or exclusions. At this point, information is shared with the appropriate State and/or Local tax authorities so that complete compliance is assured. If there is indication of something which may be problematical, the appropriate notifications are made and the nomination may be terminated. Additionally, a more comprehensive review may be ordered should substantial noncompliance be uncovered.
An example of how such information is used can be found as it relates to Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia). According to information published in the WASHINGTON POST and other media, when first selected to serve as the non-voting Member of Congress, Mrs. Norton was found to have not filed District of Columbia Income Tax Returns for 12 years, consecutively. Mrs. Norton and her spouse each claimed that they thought the other had taken the appropriate action. The Nortons filed the delinquent returns, paid all applicable penalties and interest, and then filed for divorce. Mrs. Norton remains as the District of Columbia's Member of Congress. Mr. Norton has been lost to history.
Had it been up to Frodo, Eleanor Holmes Norton would never have served a single day as a Member of Congress. The argument that two attorneys, which is what the Nortons both were by profession, would be unaware of their joint failure to file income tax returns flies beyond credibility, especially when it continued for 12 consecutive years. She should have shared a cell, at least, with Martha Stewart.
Tom Daschle served in the Legislative branch, representing South Dakota, for approximately 30 years. At some point in time, his rank elevated him to to allow certain additional benefits. To wit, he gets a bigger office, he is allotted more funds for his staff, and so on. Included in these increased benefits is the service of a government-owned motor car, and a driver. Said benefits are not included as "income" to Mr. "public employee" Daschle under the Internal Revenue Code.
Not too terribly long ago, Mr. Daschle was defeated in a re-election bid by John Methune (R-SD). As the law permits, the "civilian" Tom Daschle received several lucrative private industry employment opportunities. One of the benefits he received from his new employer was, you guessed it, a motor car, and a driver. Incredibly, the value of such service is treated as "income" to a "civilian" under the Internal Revenue Code. The failure by Mr. Daschle to include the benefit as "income" in three consecutive tax returns became the crux of the need for him to belly up more than $140K in additional taxes, penalties, and interest.
Frodo does not look to offer excuses for anyone. However, it could be argued that Mr. Daschle, if he prepared his own return, may simply have either been unaware of the taxability of something he'd had for years, as non-taxable, or he forgot about including it after so many years of not having to do so. If Mr. Daschle, and this is certainly most likely, had someone else prepare his return, it is entirely conceivable that he failed to include the information about the car and driver to his tax preparer.
Frodo notes that it took quite a while for this information to come to the fore, which would indicate that the IRS discovered the problem only after going into Mr. Daschle's returns in depth.
The true point of this discussion lies in the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code. Frodo does not endorse flat, fair, or national sales taxes of any size, shape, or proportion. He does recognize however that what we have is a process that can end up causing any one of us significant embarrassment. And if you are wondering what Frodo would have done had he the power to do so, he would have suggested to Mr. Daschle that he withdraw his name from nomination. And he would have felt like shit for so doing.