Poor Mitt...he just can't catch a break. With the Democratic Party and the media hounding him to reveal just what he paid in taxes for the past decade, the LAST thing he needs is a potential running mate turning up with similar problems.
But according to a new article in the Guardian, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a man on most lists of top contender for the Romney VP slot, is facing just such problems. Seems he may not have reported income from a shell corporation set up during a gubernatorial campaign to shield payments of about $60,000 to him from a telecommunications company owned by a close political backer.
More below the incredibly twisted orange symbol for U.S. campaign finance laws:
Writes reporter Chris McGreal from Minneapolis (and why is foreign coverage of U.S. elections so often more detailed and probing than that here in the U.S.?)
Opponents accused Pawlenty of accepting an unethical and possibly illegal salary to campaign. The scandal widened because the telecommunications group making the payments was exposed for scamming customers, many of them elderly.Among the details:
The accusations against Pawlenty centered on payments made to him for more than a year, from August 2001 until just before the election, while he was campaigning to become governor of Minnesota.And McGreal gets right to the point in spelling out Pawlenty's and now Mitt's problems:
During that time, Pawlenty:
• accepted $4,500 a month from a company headed by a business partner, campaign adviser and Republican strategist, Elam Baer, but failed to declare the income to the state's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board;
• set up a shell company to receive the money, with only one employee – himself;
• was formerly a director of, and remained an investor in, NewTel, the parent company of the firm making the payments to him. New Tel headed a telecommunications group heavily penalised for scamming customers in 10 states;
• subsequently refused to make public his tax returns on the grounds they were private.
....a fresh airing of the allegations from 2003 is not only likely to undermine Pawlenty's attempts to portray himself as the voice of the working man but threatens to draw unwelcome attention to difficult issues for Romney – the pressure to release his own tax returns, the morality of his business practices and the parking of millions of dollars in shell companies.