- - Monday, April 18, 2011


General cleared of wrongdoing

A Pentagon inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal that led to his dismissal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing.

The probe’s results released Monday also called into question the accuracy of the magazine’s report in June, which quoted anonymously people around Gen. McChrystal making disparaging remarks about members of President Obama’s national security team, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

At the time he dismissed Gen. McChrystal, Mr. Obama said the general had fallen short of “the standard that should be set by a commanding general.” The Defense Department inspector general’s report, however, concluded that available evidence did not support the conclusion that Gen. McChrystal had violated any applicable legal or ethics standard.

Last week, the White House tapped Gen. McChrystal to head a new advisory board to support military families, an initiative led by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president. The selection of Gen. McChrystal was announced April 12, four days after the inspector general’s report was finished.

The report’s conclusions were first reported Monday by the New York Times, which obtained it under a Freedom of Information Act request. The Pentagon subsequently posted the report on its website.


Obamas paid $453,770 in taxes

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported income of $1.728 million for last year, much of it from the sale of the president’s prepresidency books. They paid federal taxes totaling $453,770 after receiving a $12,334 refund.

The Obamas paid their taxes at lowered Bush-era rates, even as he campaigns to end them for households with adjusted gross incomes above $250,000 - a category into which the first family clearly fits.

Joining the flocks of Americans filing their taxes near the end of the federal filing period, the Obamas made withholding and other payments to the Internal Revenue Service last year totaling $466,104. That was an overpayment, so they got their refund. The president and first lady reported donating $245,075 - about 14.2 percent of their adjusted gross income - to 36 charities.

The largest single gift was a contribution of $131,075 to the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that offers a scholarship fund for children of soldiers who die or are disabled.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his wife, Jill, reported more modest earnings, a combined adjusted gross income of $379,178, on which they paid $86,626 in federal taxes for 2010. The Bidens’ withholding and earlier payments came to just $79,446, so they had a tax bill of $7,180 to settle.


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