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Here We Go Again

Amazing. Yet another Obama appointee apparently has tax problems. Pardon me, usher, but I think I’ve seen this movie before.

This time it’s White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. It appears that the former congressman found a handy way to save money. Most members of Congress find themselves having to support two households — one in their home district, and one in or around DC. Some members, in the past, have ended up sharing apartments or town houses. Emanuel took that one step further: he moved into the home of his colleague,  Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), staying there for five years. Rent-free.

To most people, this is “imputed income” — non-financial gifts or compensation that should be reported to the IRS. Emanuel and DeLauro defend their conduct by saying that House ethics rules  permit “hospitality between colleagues.”

Apparently they are not familiar with the old aphorism that “guests, like fish, start to smell after three days.”

And no, there was no impropriety or hanky-panky going on. Representative DeLauro is happily married to one Stan Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg, by the way, is not a lobbyist. No, he’s the next best thing in DC — he’s a pollster. And, by wild coincidence,  Greenberg’s polling company (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research) lists both Emanuel and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (which Emanuel headed) as clients.

Let’s see… a Democratic representative gets free housing from a pollster who enjoys some very lucrative contracts from both that representative and a very influential group said representative heads up? Why, I’d never even suggest some kind of a quid pro quo arrangement.

All through his campaign, Obama and his surrogates touted his great judgment and his commitment to change and transparency. Yet more and more of his nominees keep getting exposed for their ethical lapses, especially in the area of doing their “patriotic duty” (as Vice President Biden puts it) and paying “their fair share” of taxes.

There are numerous explanations for this  pattern of behavior, but here’s a theory that’s becoming less laughable: There simply aren’t enough Democrats who are both competent and honest to fill all the vacancies in Obama’s administration.

(Hat tip: the inimitable Rob Port of Say Anything)



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