O'Reilly hosted former tax delinquent Morris to criticize Geithner's tax failure
Research ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG
On The O'Reilly Factor, Dick Morris repeatedly criticized Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner for his failure to pay Social Security taxes several years ago. But Morris has his own history of tax delinquency; USA Today included Morris in an April 2008 report on "[b]ig names" who are tax delinquents.
On the January 21 edition of the Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly hosted syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Dick Morris, who repeatedly criticized Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner for his failure to pay Social Security taxes several years ago. Morris stated, "I have a huge problem with Geithner," later adding, "How could you trust him?" However, during the broadcast, neither O'Reilly nor Morris acknowledged Morris' own history of tax delinquency. Indeed, USA Today included Morris in an April 2008 report on "[b]ig names" who are tax delinquents:
Dick Morris: The former political adviser to Bill Clinton is a Fox News analyst. The IRS filed a $1.5 million tax lien against him in 2003. The state of Connecticut reports Morris owes $452,367 in back taxes and penalties.
Morris says he's reached an agreement with Connecticut and his name will be removed from the next delinquency list. He says he is committed to paying his taxes: "Following a difficult period in my life, I fell into arrears. But since then, I have paid almost $3 million in state and federal taxes."
According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS), Morris owed the state $443,915 as of November 1, 2007, making him the state's sixth-biggest tax delinquent at that time. He was also listed as one of Connecticut's 10 biggest tax delinquents as of October 1, 2007, and April 1, 2007. Morris is not cited by DRS on its recent list of "The Top 100 Delinquent Income Taxpayer Accounts" in Connecticut as of November 1, 2008.
From the January 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: All right. So, Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state: You don't have any problem with it.
O'REILLY: OK. Geithner -- Geithner is the big money guru --
MORRIS: I have a huge problem with Geithner.
O'REILLY: -- didn't pay his taxes.
MORRIS: To have the head of the IRS collect compensation earmarked for paying his taxes from the IMF and then keep it and not pay it in taxes --
O'REILLY: He says it was a mistake --
MORRIS: -- and then pay two years, but not four years, 'cause the statute of limitations --
O'REILLY: So are you --
MORRIS: -- had run on the two years.
O'REILLY: Do you think he's a crook?
MORRIS: No, not in the sense that --
O'REILLY: Why -- why would -- here's my question to you.
MORRIS: I think he consciously --
O'REILLY: Wait. Listen to me. Why would a guy at that level nickel-and-dime like that? I mean, it's just -- it's little, little stuff. It's not like huge -- it's not like Marc Rich. Why would he risk everything, nickel and -- he says it was a mistake. He takes credit for the mistake, but he didn't do it on purpose.
MORRIS: Yeah. He inadvertently deducted his kids' --
O'REILLY: Are you not believing him?
MORRIS: -- Bill, he inadvertently deducted his kids' sleep-away camp on his income taxes, claiming it --
O'REILLY: All right.
MORRIS: -- was a business expense.
O'REILLY: So you don't trust this guy at all?
MORRIS: He made a mistake?
O'REILLY: You don't trust him?
MORRIS: No. How could you trust him?
O'REILLY: OK. What if he's a genius and helps with the economy? Does it --
MORRIS: God bless him, but he shouldn't be running the IRS.
O'REILLY: So -- but he's going to get in. You know he is.
MORRIS: Of course.
O'REILLY: Because it's a one-party system now, and all of them --
MORRIS: Absolutely. Sure. Anybody's going to get confirmed.