One hallmark of the PUMAs that differentiates them from from other advocacy groups is that they don’t have a coherent view of politics and policy, they just have a a singular enemy in Barack Obama. To that end, Murphy jumped on the Tim Geithner unpaid taxes story this morning, but she got it characteristically wrong.
She claims, hysterically, that he “didn’t pay his taxes for four years.” Her cut-and-paste daily prowl letter says
I am a member of Puma PAC, People United Means Action (www.pumapac.org). I am writing you to demand that you DO NOT SUPPORT the nomination of Timothy Geithner for Secretary of the Treasury. It is absolutely unconscionable to consider appointing him to be the head of our national treasury after learning that he DID NOT PAY HIS TAXES for FOUR YEARS from 2001 to 2004.
Setting aside the fact that all-caps is a particularly ineffective style for legislative lobbying, Murphy apparently got her panties in a bunch so quickly that she didn’t have time to read the whole story.
Geithner didn’t “not pay his taxes,” he just didn’t pay all his taxes. Specifically, because he was an employee of the IMF rather than a US company, his FICA taxes were not automatically withheld, and he was expected to file them seperately. From the Wall Street Journal:
The IMF and World Bank reimburse employees, including U.S. citizens, for their U.S. income taxes. They don’t, however, make contributions toward Social Security and Medicare taxes, which individuals are expected to pay on their own.
This does appear to be an embarrassing oversight, but it’s hardly a cardinal sin.
Furthermore, it’s noticeable that PUMA PAC has no opinion or expertise about whether Geithner is as qualified to be and capable of being an effective treasury secretary as all the experts seem to think he is. They just saw an embarrassing past mistake and are trying to end his nomination because they hate Obama. I mean, it’s not like having a competent treasury secretary asap is really, really important right now. Country over party, right murphy?
Besides, you would think that somebody who runs a federal PAC but can’t seem to figure out how to file the paperwork correctly would be a little more forgiving with bureaucratic technicalities.