Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Advice & Consent

Article II, Section 2

“he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for”

It was the sworn constitutional duty of the Senate to determine the facts, and then either advise the President that the selection was unacceptable or consent and allow Mr. Geithner to take office. Has the consent of the Senate become a mere formality if the President is sufficiently popular – at the moment – or if he is a member of the party holding a majority?

It doesn't matter, now that the confirmation is over, but I feel strongly that the appointment of Mr. Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury was completely unacceptable, even if only part of what has been reported is accurate.

If in fact the IMF did advise Mr. Geithner that he was obligated to pay taxes on his earnings, in a form which he signed, then the “oversight” is, at the very least, negligent.

If, as also reported, the IMF even sent him the money to pay the taxes, and he did anything else with the funds, it would appear to me to be criminal fraud. Is that not what it would be if I withheld payroll taxes from an employee and spent them rather than sent them in to the IRS?

It should not matter if he is the “smartest guy in the room” or the “best qualified to help the administration navigate the current financial crisis”. When I worked for the DoD we were annually advised – in the strongest terms – to “avoid any appearance” of compromise or wrong-doing. This is way beyond appearance. By his own testimony, he withheld payment of taxes that he KNEW were owed.

How can a citizen have any level of faith or confidence in our tax system when the man who runs the entire department has a history of holding out – until such time as he is exposed to the sunlight of public scrutiny?

Inappropriate and oppressive taxation lead to the stirrings of rebellion that gave birth to our nation. How much more oppressive can taxation be than for the governors to levy taxes on the governed, but exempt or excuse themselves?

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