ABOUT THOSE ‘TAX CHEATS’…. In May, Fox News’ Glenn Beck was in high dudgeon over Obama administration nominees with tax troubles. “If you’re a special person, if you happen to be in the right crowd, if you happen to be in Tim Geithner’s case,” he argued in May, “well, then, you cannot pay your taxes and they don’t really bother you at all.”
In one instance, a White House nominee had to withdraw over a $946.69 tax lien on her home. Beck cited her as evidence of “a culture of corruption among some of the left,” and described her and others as “tax cheats,” whom he wouldn’t trust “with my children, let alone my children’s future.”
So what to make, then, of the fact that Beck has had his own minor tax problems over the past few years?
As Beck evolved from a medium-market local radio personality to a one-man media empire with top-rated radio and television shows, best-selling books, a monthly magazine and a traveling one-man comedy tour, his production company, Mercury Radio Arts, has at times struggled to keep up with the heightened tax and filing demands accompanying his success.
Mercury, a private corporation that lists Beck as chief executive officer and his wife, Tania Beck, alternately as vice president or secretary, since 2007 has fallen behind on its New York City business income taxes and has been cited for filing errors related to its obligations under Texas franchise tax and New York state workers’ compensation insurance rules.
Beck was not available for comment, and Mercury’s president, Chris Balfe, declined a requested interview. But a source with knowledge of the situation said that Mercury’s tax issues were minor, stemmed from bureaucratic confusion and were rectified quickly once the company learned of them.
As of about two years ago, Beck’s company had been penalized about $11,000 for overdue general corporation taxes, followed by an additional $8,250 fine for temporarily failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance in New York. In both instances, the matters were resolved soon after.
Indeed, in all fairness to Beck, based on the reporting, there’s no reason to believe the deranged media personality was deliberately trying to evade paying the taxes he owed. By all appearances, Beck’s tax troubles were inadvertent and were addressed rather quickly.
But therein lies the point: the same can be said of some of the Obama administration nominees who had very similar tax errors in their background. And in each instance, Beck made them out to be untrustworthy criminals who think they’re better than everyone else.
I’m sympathetic to Beck’s difficulties; business taxes are surprisingly complex. If he’ll simply apologize and acknowledge his hypocrisy, Beck can put this behind him. That shouldn’t be a problem, should it?