Emanuel's apartment use spurs debate

Feb. 24, 2009 at 2:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's rent-free basement room in a Capitol Hill home has sparked an ethics and tax debate, analysts say.

Emanuel has been lodging in a room owned by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and her husband, pollster Stan Greenberg. The arrangement has prompted criticism from Republican-leaning commentators who say Emanuel should have listed the room either as a gift or as income on his congressional financial disclosure forms, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Jan Baran, a Washington ethics lawyer who advises mostly Republicans, told the Tribune however that Emanuel's use of the room doesn't violate House of Representatives ethics rules because as member of the House until January, Emanuel clearly was allowed to accept a gift of lodging from another member.

Tax experts are also debating Emanuel's situation, with opinion divided on whether Emanuel would have a tax liability for the free room, Paul Caron, an associate dean at the University of Cincinnati Law School and author of the TaxProf blog, told the Tribune.

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