Yet Another Insult to Taxpayers; 13 of the 23 Largest Firms Getting Bailouts Owe Millions in Taxes

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Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Word that 13 of the 23 largest beneficiaries of the $700 billion federal aid program for the financial sector owe over $220 million in unpaid U.S. income taxes is just the latest sorry saga to the corporate bailout scheme.

It this what Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson intended when he made his evening plea to Congressional Democratic leaders to give him the money to make sure banks don't fail? The seeming willingness of the Treasury Department to ignore obvious problems in the implementation and oversight of the program indicate the whole program may be writ large in the history books as a fiasco.

A House oversight subcommittee investigation of the tax records of the top 23 firms accepting money from the program found that two of the 13 delinquent companies owe over $100 million each. An additional $330,702 in penalties is also due by those firms, and nine of the companies owe nearly $883,000 in unpaid federal employment taxes. There is a bit of guilt-by-association involved, since the specific names of the firms - which are among the top 20 participating banks, along with insurance giant American International Group, Inc. and two U.S. automakers - cannot be released due to IRS statutes.

To paraphrase Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, whose subcommittee conducted the review, what would an investigation of all 470 companies that received money from the program turn up? What if the sleuthing was expanded beyond their federal tax liabilities? …