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Gibbs: Geithner Not Paying Taxes an ‘Honest Mistake’

Reports are trickling out that President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, may not have paid Social Security or Medicare taxes for “years” and he may have employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper, according to Mark Halperin, via the Wall Street Journal. MSNBC just reported the same news.

Things are looking better for Geithner than Obama’s former pick for commerce secretary, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), who withdrew his nomination after a months-old federal probe in the governor’s home state heated up. Incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has already blasted out a statement supporting Geithner, saying the nominee shouldn’t be punished for “honest mistakes,” particularly since they have been corrected.

Full text of Gibbs’ statement after the jump:

“The President-elect chose Tim Geithner to be his Treasury Secretary because he’s the right person to help lead our economic recovery during these challenging times. He’s dedicated his career to our country and served with honor, intelligence and distinction. That service should not be tarnished by honest mistakes, which, upon learning of them, he quickly addressed. He made a common mistake on his taxes, and was unaware that his part-time housekeeper’s work authorization expired for the last three months of her employment. We hope that the Senate will confirm him with strong bipartisan support so that he can begin the important work of the country,” said incoming White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

This situation kind of reminds me of the time I didn’t pay taxes for three years, then was audited, then grudgingly paid up — that was an honest mistake too! (Just kidding!)

Still, this is certainly not how the Obama team would have liked to begin the confirmation process for what will surely be one of its most high-profile cabinet positions.

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