According to Federal Election Committee reports, Congressional candidate Jason Plummer is evading payroll taxes and shifting Medicare and Social Security tax burden onto his employees. Plummer is intentionally misclassifying his campaign employees as independent contractors to skirt payroll taxes – a loophole forbidden by the IRS.
Major General (retired) Bill Enyart and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 649 Official Alan Rubenstein today slammed Plummer for evading payroll taxes in his campaign and for looking out for himself at the expense of Southern Illinois workers and middle class families.
Enyart shared his background as a UAW member working the line at Caterpillar with his father as a young man. He criticized Plummer for trying to cheat workers by evading payroll taxes in his campaign and running on a platform that rewards millionaires, but puts good jobs and the future of Southern Illinois for regular working people at risk.
Enyart said: “In direct violation of the law, my millionaire opponent is paying no payroll taxes on his campaign. Instead he’s misclassifying his workers, forcing them to pay the full tax burden while he pays nothing at all in payroll taxes. This is only a preview of what Mr. Plummer would do in Washington. He will shift the burden onto the middle class by raising taxes on regular working people, but giving himself a new tax break.”
* There has been some dispute in other races about whether this is legal. But others have done it. For instance, this is from 2010…
Almost across the board in major races for governor, U.S. senator and Congress, Democratic candidates have put their campaign workers — at least some of them — on the payroll and have been paying FICA and other taxes on them.
But not Republicans. Though some now say they’re changing, they’ve followed a different approach, treating all of their campaign managers, press aides and the like as independent contractors, which makes the individual and not the “employer” responsible for any tax liability. […]
In the race for Illinois governor, during the last six months of 2009 — the latest for which figures are available — Mr. Quinn’s campaign reported paying $52,000 to the IRS and another $5,200 to the Illinois Department of Revenue for payroll taxes. That’s money Mr. Quinn surely could have used for other purposes, like TV ads.
The GOP nominee, state Sen. Bill Brady, reported no such payments. Which means that folks who made as much as $12,500 in the last half of the year worked for his campaign on “consulting” or “contractual services,” as Mr. Brady’s state disclosure put it.
* By the way, Enyart’s press release contains another “revelation”…
[International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 649 Official Alan Rubenstein] was part of a group of local workers who questioned Plummer’s business practice of personally profiting by undercutting a living wage for his employees. He also slammed Plummer for refusing to listen to Southern Illinois workers without an endorsement.
“Jason Plummer is a millionaire who has been taking advantage of the tough economy by undercutting labor and middle class and working people. Mr. Plummer personally profits by keeping wages low and if he had his way, they’d be so low no one could support their families and earn a decent, honest living.
“Mr. Plummer had the nerve to tell me that he’d only listen to Southern Illinois workers if we endorsed him. Well that’s not how honest people do business.”
Democratic and Republican volunteers spent the day passing out pamphlets and putting up signs. With less than two weeks until Election Day, the Champaign County Republicans and Democrats are doing what they can to get voters to the polls, even if it means a lot of walking.
“You can call, you can email, but it’s still not as effective as someone coming up to you and giving you that literature,” said Shana Harrison. She’s president of College Democrats.
“There’s a lot of walking involved. That’s the greatest way that you have a chance to connect with voters and get them to actually go,” said Harrison.
* The Question: What’s your favorite precinct walking story?
* This week, Congresswoman Judy Biggert was asked about her vote for the Paul Ryan budget plan, which Democrats have decried as a radical proposal that would “end Medicare as we know it.” Biggert has always campaigned as a moderate, so this Ryan vote was somewhat out of character for her. Her explanation…
“The Ryan budget is right because it’s a plan. It’s on the table. And let’s, let’s, we have to move ahead, we can’t just sit there and keep on the spending.”
Pro Same-Sex-Marriage PAC Backs Candidate Who Equates Gay Marriage With Bigamy, Polygamy
American Unity PAC, a Republican super PAC aimed at expanding support for same-sex marriage, was announced with great fanfare in June. But it may not be living up to the hype: one of the congressional candidates it’s supporting with hundreds of thousands in TV ads is not only publicly opposed to same-sex marriage, she also just equated the practice with polygamy and bigamy.
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) may not be what the establishment who fawned over American Unity PAC had in mind when the group was announced.
At a press conference after a debate Wednesday night, Biggert explained that she’s “close” to supporting same-sex marriage rights, but is “not there yet.” Then she said the issue is best left to the states, equating same-sex marriage laws with the universally-accepted illegal acts of bigamy and polygamy.
“It is a state issue,” Biggert said. “We don’t have polygamy and bigamy and all of these things in the federal government. It’s the states that take care of that.”
Biggert didn’t “equate” the two issues. Marriage, in all its forms, has historically been regulated by the states. Moderate Republicans have in the past several years opposed federal bans on gay marriage. This isn’t exactly new stuff. It’s only in relatively recent history that a push has been made for a federal law to allow gay marriage at the state level. Biggert says she’s moving in that direction, but is not there yet.
* In other news, Charlie Cook has moved this race from “Tossup” to “Lean Democrat.”
* The FreedomWorks super PAC is reportedly spending $1.5 million on TV ads against Tammy Duckworth starting Monday, so this poll has to give the Duckworth campaign some peace of mind…
With less than two weeks until the election, Duckworth had the backing of 50 percent to 40 percent for Walsh, the controversial tea party-backed incumbent. An additional 9 percent were undecided, which is significant this close to the Nov. 6 balloting, particularly for a highly visible contest that has been combative for months. […]
Independents are a key swing bloc of voters who often decide elections, and the poll found they make up more than a third of people casting ballots in the new district, which takes in northwest suburban Cook and eastern DuPage counties. Duckworth, a disabled Iraq War veteran making her second try for Congress, holds a 48 percent to 37 percent advantage over Walsh among independent voters. […]
Then there’s that gender gap. Among women, Duckworth scored 54 percent support to Walsh’s 34 percent. At the same time, the bravado Walsh often displays in decrying political correctness hasn’t earned him any advantage among men. While the Republican has a 46 percent to 45 percent advantage over Duckworth among male voters, it is statistically insignificant.
Another obstacle for Walsh is widespread discontent with federal lawmakers, particularly Republicans. Only 12 percent of the district’s voters approve of the job Congress is doing; 77 percent disapprove. Moreover, 69 percent of the district’s voters disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs. When asked whether Republicans or Democrats in Washington, including President Barack Obama, were to blame for gridlock, 41 percent cited the GOP compared with 26 percent who cited Democrats.
That’s two recent polls with big Duckworth leads. It’s a trend and she’s likely stopped the bleeding.
The cable industry is asking lawmakers to place a NEW 5% tax on satellite TV service. HB 5440 is not about fairness, equity or parity – it’s a tax increase on the 1.3 million Illinois families and businesses who subscribe to satellite TV. They cannot afford another NEW tax – not now and not in this economy!
HB 5440 Will Hurt Illinois Families and Small Businesses
• Satellite TV subscribers will see their monthly bills go up 5%.
• This tax will impact every bar, restaurant and hotel that subscribes to satellite TV service, which will translate into higher prices, decreased revenues, and fewer jobs.
• Rural Illinois has no choice: In many parts of Illinois, cable refuses to provide TV service to rural communities. Satellite TV is their only option.
HB 5440 Is Not About Parity or Fairness
• Cable’s claim that this discriminatory tax is justified because satellite TV doesn’t pay local franchise fees could not be further from the truth. Cable pays those fees to local towns and cities in exchange for the right to bury cables in the public rights of way—a right that Comcast and Charter value in the tens of billions of dollars in their SEC filings.
• Satellite companies don’t pay franchise fees for one simple reason: We use satellites—unlike cable, we don’t need to dig up streets and sidewalks to deliver our TV service.
• Making satellite subscribers pay franchise fees—or, in this case, an equivalent amount in taxes—would be like taxing the air It’s no different than making airline passengers pay a fee for laying railroad tracks.
According to the Sunlight Foundation, independent expenditures on federal campaigns by so-called “superPACs” and others have just about reached the half-billion dollars mark. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.”
About three-quarters of that money has been spent on negative attack ads. And about $14 million of that has been spent in just three Chicago-area congressional races. So now you know why you’ve been so inundated.
Some people look at all this moolah and shake their heads and worry about its impact on our democracy.
Others see all the cash and want in.
Two buddies of mine are thinking about starting their own superPACs.
They’re no fools. The standard fee for “placing” a TV ad is up to 15 percent. Place a few million bucks and you don’t have to work for a while. All you gotta do is find a few angry people who have more money than they know what to do with and help them direct their rage.
Chicago’s Schadenfreude comedy group has caught on to this new gold rush. They’re running a series,” Poor Judgement,” on YouTube about the fictional “Integrity Independent Film Company.” The liberal company is dead broke and desperate for work. During Episode 1, they debate whether to sell their souls and make ads for superPACs.
“One word. Sometimes two. SuperPACs,” says “Justin,” who in real life is WBEZ executive producer Justin Kaufmann.
“Oh, like the Lunchables,” says his partner “Jim,” who is Jim Bennett, a recent winner of the Grand Slam for The Moth storytelling competition.
“Not the Lunchables!” says Justin. “The thing where the trillionaires give politicians a ton of cash for campaigns and issues. They have a film company that shoots the ad. It’s the film company that shoots the ad.”
“Yeah, but what if we don’t agree with what they stand for?” asks “Kate,” played by Kate James of Second City and Schadenfreude.
“F*** ideals!” rages Justin. “Why do you care what anybody thinks?”
“Because what brought us together was integrity,” says Jim.
“What brought us together was ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ We all liked that movie,” cracks Justin.
“C’mon, Jim, don’t you want to make bank?” he demands. Justin eventually wins out.
In Episode 2, they change their company’s name to “N.Tegrity Political Films” and take a meeting with some wealthy right-wingers who run the “Committee for a More Beautiful America.”
After some false starts, Justin makes their pitch. “Colonial times. Ship off in the distance. And it docks. And all these people get off the ship. It’s the beginning of the country. It’s the beginning of hope.”
One of the superPAC’s leaders interrupts. “And the people getting off the Mayflower have some sort of tongue disease and syphillis and smallpox because of ObamaCare in 2012, right? I like it. Yes to that.”
The superPAC guys eventually give the N.Tegrity folks their own idea for a TV ad. It features a baby in its crib. “It’s 3 a.m.,” says the announcer, “and while you sleep, your infant daughter stirs as she realizes that the following groups will either try to kill her or tax her to death: Mexicans, the gays, solar power advocates, Latinos, liberals, fact checkers, Chicagoans, youth, near-sighted independents,” and on and on.
Episode 3 involves a meeting with two potential clients, the Council On American Marriage and the American Council For Marriage. One is anti-gay and the other is pro-gay. But the hapless film company folks don’t know who is who and which is which and hilarity ensues.
I hope my buddies don’t have these problems. Selling one’s soul and destroying the country shouldn’t be so difficult.