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Baucus: Geithner made 'honest mistakes'

Jan. 13, 2009 at 5:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Members of the Senate Finance Committee say tax problems and immigration issues shouldn't derail Timothy Geithner's nomination for U.S. treasury secretary.

"I believe that these errors, although serious, do not rise to the level of disqualification," committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., told reporters.

The Hill reported Geithner discussed the issues with panel members behind closed doors Tuesday.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Geithner made a "common mistake" in failing to report Social Security and Medicare taxes when he was technically self-employed while working for the International Monetary Fund. The Wall Street Journal reported he paid the taxes with interest after federal tax officials brought the error to his attention.

Geithner also employed a housekeeper whose visa expired, making her an illegal immigrant. Gibbs said Geithner was unaware his housekeeper's immigration status changed while she was in his employ.

Baucus said he was made aware of the two issues several weeks ago and waived them off as "honest mistakes," The Hill said.

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