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Fed's Geithner Evaded Taxes at IMF, Used Statute of Limitations Later, Mishanded Citigroup

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 14 -- While working for the UN-affiliated International Monetary Fund earlier this decade, Treasury Secretary-nominee Timothy Geithner did not pay required taxes to the Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service. This would seem to be problematize, to be diplomatic, Geithner's ability to gain confirmation by the U.S. Senate to oversee the IRS.

This would seem to be problematize, to be diplomatic, Geithner's ability to gain confirmation by the U.S. Senate to oversee the IRS. But Democratic Senators and Barack Obama himself are calling Geithner's an "innocent mistake" which should not impinge on confirmation. Some ask how a financial whiz, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, would claim ignorance of basic tax law as a defense.

  Worse, Geithner initially hid behind the statute of limitations to refuse to pay $25,000 in taxes for 2001 and 2002: "A three-year statute of limitations had precluded the [IRS] from auditing the 2001 and 2002 tax returns." But his supporters argue that Geithner's expertise is needed to confront the global financial crisis.

  But what of Geithner's role, as the President of the New York Fed, in mis-regulating Citigroup, an institution which has already swallowed $45 billion in Troubled Assets Relief Program funds, and billions more in guarantees for toxic loans still on its books? Said otherwise, how can those who oversaw -- or turned a blind eye to -- the origins of the financial meltdown be presented as the only ones who can now save the day?

Barack Obama introduces Timothy Geithner, unpaid taxes and Citi-snafus not shown

 Also on Citigroup, sources say that the Feds are pushing Richard Parsons to take over as the embattled company's chairman. He ran Dime Savings Bank, part of the now-collapsed Washington Mutual franchise. At Citigroup's annual meetings, at Inner City Press asked questions about predatory lending from the floor of Carnegie Hall, Parsons never spoke up.  What did he think of the questions, of Citigroup's venture into predatory lending with Commercial Credit, Associates First Capital and CitiFinancial? The questions should be answered.

  Leaving the Federal Reserve Board is Randy Kroszner, who had served the Fed's point Governor on community and consumer issues. A new Fed advisor on these issues was recently withheld from the press without explanation by the Fed's public relations office. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke hides behind the Federal Open Markets Committee news blackout requirements in order to skip speaking to non-financial audiences, but disagrees with and ignored the requirement of public notice and comment while granting bank holding company status to Morgan Stanley, CIT, Goldman Sachs and GMAC.

  A cavalier approach to the law, by both Bernanke and Geithner -- is this what would help to solve the financial crisis?

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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