When political Web site and newspaper Politico surveyed all 99 sitting U.S. senators about their taxes, Alaska Democrat Mark Begich was one of just seven who reported mistakes that resulted in the payment of back taxes.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski didn't answer the questions, which Alaska Democrats immediately criticized.
The political news organization asked senators about their own taxes after two of President Obama's appointments imploded over tax troubles. A third, new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was criticized for not paying payroll taxes for his housekeeper.
Begich and Murkowski, absorbed with the big economic stimulus package, couldn't be diverted to discuss the tax issues Friday, their aides said.
Begich told Politico that both the IRS and he had found mistakes over 30-plus years of returns "but nothing significant."
"Then the IRS issued a new ruling that use of this car was taxable, so I paid the back taxes owed on the 'benefit' for the years I utilized the vehicle. I then got rid of the city vehicle and bought my own car to use for city business," Begich said in the survey.
Begich's tax problem, Politico said, echoed that of Tom Daschle, forced to step down as the president's pick for Health and Human Services secretary for failing to pay income taxes due on a car and driver.
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