* The AP sums up today’s big Tribune story…
Alexi Giannoulias tells voters he left his family bank in 2005, but he got a major tax break by telling the IRS he continued working at the bank the next year. […]
By telling the IRS he worked at least 500 hours in 2006, Giannoulias qualified for a $2.7 million income tax deduction.
That $2.7 million was his reported business loss. He ended up getting $30,000 in tax refunds, which wiped out his income tax liabilities for the year.
* Anyway, on to the Tribune story…
Saying he left in 2005 gives Giannoulias maximum distance from the bank’s questionable lending practices, the April takeover by federal regulators and other controversies such as a loan by the bank to convicted influence peddler Antoin “Tony” Rezko in early 2006.
But by reporting that he worked at least 500 hours at Broadway in 2006, Giannoulias was able to get a break that helped him avoid paying federal income tax for 2009.
Giannoulias said he has been clear that he left the “day-to-day” operations of the bank in September 2005 to prepare his first run for public office, but was on paid leave until May 2006 when he left completely to campaign full time for treasurer.
That 2006 work consisted of roughly 30 hours a week closing out his responsibilities before quitting as a bank officer, and didn’t involve making new loans, Giannoulias explained in a recent interview. It was more than enough to qualify him for the tax break, he said.
IRS regulations allow taxpayers to deduct business losses from certain types of corporations if they’ve logged significant hours there for five of the last 10 years. Giannoulias started at the bank in 2002, so working at least 500 hours in 2006 qualifies Giannoulias for the tax break.
As the article points out, Giannoulias’ campaign has been claiming he took a paid leave of absence in September of 2005. But a guy taking a paid leave worked 30 hours a week? That’s some raw deal.
Of course, when he was running for treasurer Giannoulias said in December, 2005 that he “currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.” In March of 2006, he said this about his position at the bank: “I’m senior loan officer and vice president.”
First, he was a bigtime banker in 2005-06. Then he was on a paid leave of absence. And then we find out he told the IRS he worked 30 hours a week through May of 2006. He did mention that month back in September of 2006 when he was interviewed by the American Banker magazine…
He left his job at Broadway in May to focus on his campaign.
Focus on his campaign? His real campaign was the primary that year. He stomped a woefully under-funded Christine Radogno by 432,000 votes in November.
My head is spinning from all these story changes.
Hint to Alexi: Try telling the truth from the beginning and then sticking with it. That’s a whole lot easier.
* Campaign roundup…
* U.S. House: Don’t Penalize Illinois For Ethics Reform
* Quinn Pushing Equal Pay
* The Rhubarb Patch: Quinn v. Brady; judging the imperfects
* Pantagraph: Time running out; be sure you are able to vote
* PJ Star: Make candidates for top government posts public
* GOP Hopes to Win Big in Illinois, Wisconsin