Your obligatory “McCains are tax deadbeats” column

So our Sunday morning political festival will apparently be opening up with a late breaking story from Newsweek. In it, we find a tawdry tale of tax scofflaws thumbing their nose at their civic responsibilities… sort of.

Mrs. McCain, San Diego County Would Like a Word

When you’re poor, it can be hard to pay the bills. When you’re rich, it’s hard to keep track of all the bills that need paying. It’s a lesson Cindy McCain learned the hard way when NEWSWEEK raised questions about an overdue property-tax bill on a La Jolla, Calif., property owned by a trust that she oversees.

San Diego County officials, it turns out, have been sending out tax notices on the La Jolla property, an oceanfront condo, for four years without receiving a response. County records show the bills, which were mailed to a Phoenix address associated with Mrs. McCain’s trust, were returned by the post office.

Since I am a thinly disguised, cheap lowbrow hack, let’s get the mandatory McCain joke out of the way, shall we?

Wow! That John McCain really IS opposed to taxes, isn’t he?!

Har Har Har.

The story has already prompted a predictable response from some of the GOP’s detractors, causing some to label the McCains “deadbeats”, others to call this a “tax scandal” and causing The American Street’s Mark Adams to declare it the end of Big Mac’s presidential bid, with a banner to be hung over the McCain campaign headquarters reading, “Abandon hope all ye that enter here.”

A deeper look at this story, however, makes it a bit less of a clear-cut scandal or disaster of biblical proportions. First of all, it’s not clear that John McCain’s name is even attached to the property in any fashion. It’s also not directly held by his wife, Cindy, but by one of a number of trusts she oversees. (An elderly aunt of hers apparently lives in the condo.) Tax bills on the property have been sent out regularly, but it seems that they were being mailed to an old, incorrect address – not the bank currently handling the property – and being returned by the post office to the sender. It seems unlikely that Cindy McCain was even aware of the overdue bill, and even less probable that Senator McCain has even heard of the place for years.

Does this excuse Cindy McCain’s trust from their obligations to pay their taxes? Obviously not. And as the article shows, as soon as the error was pointed out, remissions were made.

Shortly after NEWSWEEK inquired about the matter, the McCain aide e-mailed a receipt dated Friday, June 27, confirming payment by the trust to San Diego County in the amount of $6,744.42. County officials say the trust still owes an additional $1,742 for this year, an amount that is overdue and will go into default July 1. Told of the outstanding $1,742, the aide said: “The trust has paid all bills shown owing as of today and will pay all other bills due.”

An embarassing error on the part of the heiress’s accounting staff to be sure. But does this story reflect on the personal responsibility and character of the candidate? I’ll leave that for the reader to judge, but this honestly sounds like the kind of paperwork snafu which can and does happen in any large, sprawling business enterprise. And does anyone think that roughly eight thousand dollars is even a fly on the windscreen of Cindy McCain’s family holdings?

I somehow doubt that John McCain is sharpening up his samurai sword for a seppuku ritual over this one. As for me, I’ll try to strike a balance between being shocked and bored.

BONUS ROUND: Hot Air has a bit more of an analysis on how this situation really doesn’t parallel Al Franken’s ongoing tax woes.

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  • epiphyte

    The story’s not so much about McCain as the media. Al Franken’s accountant made a mistake too (he payed all his taxes but in the wrong states). The story about how irresponsible Franken was played in MN for a week (until it was replaced at the top of the local news by the story of how he was an advocate of bestialtiy and child-molestation, as evidenced by a decade-old satirical Playboy article). I’d be very surprised if the “liberal” media picks up on this one at all, and if it does, three quarters of the coverage will be couched as an attack on the the “liberal” Media.

  • daveinboca

    Franken deserves all the bad press he gets, even if it isn’t always accurate. He used Harvard stationery and students to do the research on his books—most of which ended up being inaccurate anyway—not quite plagiarism, just indiscrimate ghosting.

    Most of the MSM is in the tank for Obama, including the former “moderates” on this blog. But can one imagine anyone criticizing Michelle if she had overlooked a tax obligation? That would be racist, right?

    Michelle had a 60 Minutes interview in 2007 where she mused about Barry Hussein-0 being assassinated by saying “black men get shot every day. Black men get shot going to a gas station……’ and other extrapolations. Not a whisper of this interview made it to any major US network or cable news show—-while Hillary’s off-the-cuff comment to a South Dakota Q&A was trumpeted for a week as inciting violence when she mentioned RFK was killed in June, 1968.

    Yeah, that “liberal” media is really even-handed. It’s the old Marxist saw: “No Fault on the Left.”

  • runasim

    This is interesting.

    >A story about McCain makes headlines, but it turns out to be misleading.
    >Hot Air is referred to for rebuttal. Hot Air is hardly the home of fair and balanced, and it’s about as irregularly reliable a source as Daily Kos..
    >That takes the narrattive to the customary so-and-so-is-worse stage, in this case Al Franken.
    >The story about Franken turns out to be badly misleading, as well, but we don’t quite get there, because Al Franken is such a juicy topic. You can say anything about him and it will be believed by lots of folks, especially at Hot Air…

    A commenter, unsurprisingly, manages to link MSM, not only to the usual ”liberal’ meme, but to Marxism,too. . Corporate Marxists, that takes some mulling over.
    I wouldn’t vote for McCain, but I don’t like manufactured scandals about anyone.
    I think Al Frnaken is a chowder head, but I don’t like to see him smeared, in order to defend McCain.

    Calling Sgt. “just the facts, ma’am” Friday!

  • Kyle1

    Daveinboca, you are seriously confused. Next time line up your thoughts before posting. In fact, make sure they are thoughts. Remember — typing is only one part of the commenting process! (You could use some work on that aspect too.)