The “reports” come in from all over the internet and the papers, day after day after day:
Democrat Rahm Emanuel put his Chicago residency in the name of a charity to avoid property taxes…
Phil Gremillion at The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, Louisiana:
Check out his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. His mansion in Chicago is not listed as a residence. Change that to “I pay no property taxes.”
Of course, if you don’t pay taxes to the government, chances are you will be arrested and thrown in the clinker. Not so in the case of Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff. Emanuel’s brazen tax evasion is nothing new, although the corporate media does not bother to cover it. However, as we close in on tax day, the story is worth revisiting. Millionaire Rahm created a handy-dandy charity in order to avoid paying property taxes on his Chicago residence.
At Irregular Times, we’ve had three people e-mail us just in the last week with the very same “tip” asking us to uncover the property tax shenanigans of Rahm Emanuel. The canned text goes like this:
…there seems to be no public record of Emanuel ever paying property taxes on this home!
The Cook County Assessor’s and Cook County Treasurer’s online records indicate Emanuel’s Chicago neighbors pay between $3,500 and $7,000 annually. However, Illinois Review has been unable to locate any evidence that the former Clinton advisor and investment banker is paying his fair share of Cook County’s notoriously high tax burden.
The Capitol Fax Blog showed this story to be completely and utterly without merit back in November. The Chicago Tribune linked to six thorough debunkings of the claim in February. And yet the online and newspaper sources I refer to above, continuing to spread this untrue story, were published in the past week! Clearly, somebody is (or somebodies are) spending a lot of time and energy continuing to push this claim.
The original source of this widely disseminated untruth is the Illinois Review, which has adopted the conspiracy theorists’ martyr pose, “The Government Doesn’t Want You to Know The Truth”:
There are all kinds of “government intimidation” that might be appropriate here, ranging from a defamation lawsuit to arrest on criminal charges, so demonstrably untrue is this story. Look, all you have to do is go to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office website and look up property tax records for Rahm Emanuel. Records for this year and last year are available, and they not only show that Rahm Emanuel paid his property taxes on time, they show (as similar captures available on the internet since November have shown) the PIN number you need to verify this.
Do you think I photoshopped the whole thing as part of the conspiracy? Then look for the telephone numbers in the screen captures you see above. Verify the phone numbers, then call Cook County and get the truth straight from the government intimidators’ polish sausage fragranced mouths.
What kind of people would spread such false claims in newspapers and online, months after the claims were shown to be unquestionably untrue? Just look at that Illinois Review graphic again. Other than the “government intimidation” defense, the main elements on the page are a link to GOPUSA talking points of the day and comments from people who want Rush Limbaugh to run for president. This is a group of people who have turned themselves into open spigots for spreading whatever liquid fertilizer comes their way from the Republican Party spin shop or Rush radio. It doesn’t matter if it’s true; I don’t even think that the people spreading this rumor check to see whether it’s true. That’s a problem not just with Those Nasty Bloggers Who Sully Journalism. It’s a problem with professional journalism, too. Two out of the three links to the latest reporting of this myth are to newspapers.
The thing is, you don’t have to deal in falsehoods in order to give White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel a hard time. Here are some 100% Bona Fide True Things That Are Bothersome About Rahm Emanuel:
Rahm Emanuel voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act that strips away civil liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Also in the 109th Congress, he failed to support legislation to end extraordinary rendition and failed to oppose the Military Commissions Act. In the 110th Congress, Rahm Emanuel helped to gut the 4th Amendment to the Constitution by voting for the FISA Amendments Act. He also failed to support legislation to end military threats to world peace, including cluster bombs, the use of child soldiers and war profiteering. As part of the Democratic Party leadership, Rahm Emanuel pushed against democracy, shoving primary contenders off the ballot in state after state so that voters would have not have the power to choose Democratic party candidates. The Emanuel way: he gets to pick the candidates on Americans’ behalf.
These are all factually-grounded criticisms of Rahm Emanuel. In the House of Representatives and in the White House, Rahm Emanuel has avoided his constitutional responsibilities and acted like a conniving jerk. That should be enough. I have no idea why Republicans feel the need to invent the fiction that he is a conniving jerk who doesn’t pay his property taxes…
… oh, now it dawns on me. Those substantive criticisms of Rahm Emanuel pretty much apply to every Republican politician on the national scene just as well. That’s why the GOP noise machine has to make this property tax stuff up.