Tag Archives: paid

Fleischmann Spends $50K in Campaign Funds on Saltsman Legal Bills

Since July 2011, Chuck Fleischmann’s campaign has earmarked $51,523 in donor funds to pay Chip Saltsman’s legal fees in a lawsuit 600 miles away from Washington, D.C., according to Chris Carrolll.
Campaign finance records show the latest payment, $15,000, came on Nov. 14. Fleischmann’s office announced Saltsman’s resignation as chief of staff a month later.
After spending $1.3 million on the 2012 election cycle, the Fleischmann campaign reported $50,990 on hand and $226,538 in debts, according to the latest filings.
Last week, Fleischmann and his Nashville-based attorney declined to respond to inquiries about whether the Republican congressman’s campaign will continue paying Saltsman’s bills this year. Saltsman and his attorney did not return a detailed phone message seeking comment Thursday.
The legal fees stem from a 2-year-old Davidson County Circuit Court lawsuit filed by a rival political operative. Former Robin Smith aide Mark Winslow is suing Fleischmann and Saltsman over advertising claims the duo made in the 2010 election. Winslow seeks $750,000 in damages.
Fleischmann edged Smith and became the Republican nominee after a bitter 3rd District primary season. The lawsuit alleges defamation, inducement to breach a contract and invasion of privacy.
After Fleischmann’s campaign consulted with the Federal Election Commission in 2011, the agency determined that using donations to defend Saltsman was allowable because the lawsuit involves “allegations directly relating to campaign activities engaged in by Mr. Saltsman.”
…Meanwhile, attorneys continue to litigate the lawsuit, which is entering its third year after being filed in January 2011. Gary Blackburn, Winslow’s attorney, filed a motion to add the Tennessee Republican Party as a defendant last week.
A trial could be months away, Blackburn said.

Haslam’s Federal Tax Rate Averaged 13%; Went Low as 4.8%

Back when he was willing to provide some figures on his income, Bill Haslam was understating the percentage of that income paid in federal taxes, according to the Commercial Appeal’s Marc Perrusquia.
Haslam released a summary of his non-Pilot income during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign for a six-year period ending in 2008. (He has refused to release any information on his income since then.)
The summary, when analized, shows that Haslam paid such a low rate of taxes on non-Pilot income that it “provides fodder for an emerging national debate over how federal income tax policy benefits the rich,” Perrusquia reports.
Haslam’s summary reported he paid $3.8 million in federal taxes and $597,000 in state taxes on his non-Pilot income over the six-year period.
This, the summary said, amounted an effective tax rate that averaged 22.35 percent over the six years and reached 48 percent in two of those years.
However, Haslam’s non-Pilot tax rate is much lower when isolated to federal taxes and calculated in a manner typically used to compare tax rates. For one, Haslam calculated his tax rate by using taxable income, not total income. Taxable income is lower than total income because itemized deductions and personal exemptions have been subtracted.
Using taxable income inflates a tax rate, said Nick Kasprak, an analyst for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington-based tax research organization.
“That is nonsense,” Kasprak said. “It’s misleading to do that. There are a lot of tax deductions people can take. If you’re not including those in your income you’re inflating your tax rate.”
Haslam said his personal CPA computed the tax rates published in his income summaries using an accounting software by a leading national firm. The software divides taxes paid into taxable income, he said.
However, using Kasprak’s method, the newspaper found Haslam’s effective federal income tax rate (on non-Pilot income) averaged 13.1 percent over the six years and dipped as low as 11.7 percent in 2007 and 4.8 percent in 2008.

There’s some commentary from the governor on the matter.
“I’m not sure that this is a case of somebody that’s trying to dodge taxes,” said Haslam, emphasizing that much of his federal tax deduction involves huge charitable contributions he’s made, plus state taxes he paid.
Renewed interest in Haslam’s finances comes amid a flourishing national debate over taxes and wealth.
Spurred in part by the Occupy movement, the debate is gaining currency, too, among conservatives influenced by the likes of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes. A report this fall by the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office fueled the debate by finding a growing income inequality between the middle class and America’s richest citizens.
“There is a bigger gap there, that’s true,” Haslam said. “So the question is: Why? … Is it solely tax policy? Is that what’s driving the difference? Or are there a lot of other factors at play? And I think that’s the discussion we should be having,” he said, suggesting that inadequate education and the breakup of the traditional family might also be factors in the growing income gap.
“The easiest thing to say is, ‘Well, there’s the super rich. And the ‘one percent’ is doing well.’ ”

Government Paid Travel Costs for Sarah Palin’s Husband at Knoxville Trial

By Bill Poovey, Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The government paid nearly $2,500 for Sarah Palin’s husband to come to the trial of a Tennessee college student who hacked into her email — even though Todd Palin never testified, court records show.
In all, the government paid more than $29,000 to fly members of the Palin family and other witnesses to Knoxville, send a prosecutor to Alaska for research and pay other travel expenses, according to the Department of Justice records obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. Air travel totaled about $18,600, and hotel bills amounted to nearly $3,300.
The thousands of dollars spent by prosecutors helped them win a conviction on one felony and one misdemeanor charge against David Kernell, who finishes his 10-month sentence on Wednesday. Prosecutors have said that Kernell’s punishment for the hacking during Palin’s failed 2008 vice presidential bid should deter any hackers who considered targeting candidates in next fall’s presidential election.
The former Alaska governor, her daughter Bristol and an aide were among the witnesses called to the stand, but the chief prosecutor said he decided Todd Palin’s testimony wasn’t needed. Sarah and Bristol Palin told jurors that they harassed and their lives were disrupted after Kernell hacked into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! Email account and made screenshots public that included personal email addresses and cell phone numbers.

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