I read with some interest (via the Corner’s Mark Hemingway) the report that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel never paid rent on his five year stay with Congresswoman DeLauro, who just happens to be married to a pollster…
The White House chief of staff said this week that he did not pay rent during the five years he bunked at the Capitol Hill home of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn). But that raises questions whether Emanuel reported the rent-free lodging to Congress, since DeLauro is married to pollster Stan Greenberg. And will either of the parties report what could be “imputed income” to the IRS? Reps for Emanuel and DeLauro argue that House Ethics rules allow “hospitality between colleagues.”
…who also just happens to be the Chairman of a polling company that had Rep. Emanuel and the DCCC as clients. As you can see, they’re claiming that this wasn’t a commerical transaction at all – and thus not taxable, which is suddenly a burning issue among Obama staffers. You can believe as much of that as you like, of course: for my own part, I take this as an indication that maybe John Edwards was right all along. Maybe there really are two Americas: there’s the America where people pay their taxes and disclose their income without engaging in undue shenanigans, and then there’s the America that Democratic politicians live in. Speaking as someone who lives in the first America, let me make the denizens of the second one aware of something: we tolerate this sort of thing only when times are good.
Times are not good.
PS: Please, by all means: try the “but it was technically legal!” defense. That always works so well with people who don’t have a Congressman’s influence and pull.
Crossposted at Moe Lane.