Monday, January 26, 2009

Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, said Monday that she will vote against the confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary because he initially failed to pay $34,000 in back self-employment taxes.

“We have to have confidence in our top economic leaders,” she told MSNBC.

The Senate Finance Committee approved Mr. Geithner’s nomination by an 18-5 vote last week and sent it to the floor of the Senate, which is expected to vote Monday night.

Ms. Collins said that Mr. Geithner, head of the Federal Reserve regional bank in New York, “demonstrated a cavalier attitude” about his taxes during his confirmation hearing before the finance committee last week that “simply is not acceptable to me.”

She said he failed to comply with the tax laws, adding, “Even after Mr. Geithner was audited, he failed to make good on previous years’ obligations” to pay his taxes.

Mr. Geithner worked for the International Monetary Fund between 2001 and 2004 and did not initially pay self-employment taxes. He did pay taxes for 2001 and 2002 after he was audited by the IRS but did not pay for the years 2003 and 2004 until just before then-President-elect Obama nominated him for the post of Treasury secretary.

“I can’t in good conscience vote for Mr. Geithner,” the Maine Republican said.

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