Fox & Friends' Carlson falsely claimed Geithner "kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program" for tax failure

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

On Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson asserted that in answering questions about his failure to pay social security taxes several years ago, Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner "kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program." In fact, at his hearing, Geithner mentioned the tax software he used only after he was asked which brand he used to file his taxes.

During the January 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted that in answering questions about his failure to pay social security taxes several years ago, Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner "kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program." But Carlson's assertion was contradicted by the video clip of Geithner's January 21 Senate confirmation hearing that she aired following her comments, in which Geithner is shown stating: "I want to say these are my responsibility, not the tax software responsibility. But I use TurboTax to prepare my returns." Moreover, as the full exchange -- of which Fox & Friends aired only a part -- makes clear, Geithner mentioned the tax software only after he was asked by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) whether he "use[d] software to prepare" his "2001 and 2002 tax returns." After Geithner responded, "I did," Grassley asked, "Which brand did you use?" Geithner then responded, "I'll answer that question, sir, but I want to say these are my responsibility, not the tax software responsibility. But I use TurboTax to prepare my returns."

In contrast to Fox & Friends, the Los Angeles Times' Johanna Neuman wrote in a January 21 blog post titled, "Timothy Geithner: Blame me, not TurboTax," that Geithner "seemed reluctant to name names."

From the January 21 Senate Finance Committee hearing:

GRASSLEY: Given that the staff and media reports raised significant questions about your late payment of self-employment taxes, I think it's important to set the record straight before we proceed. As a result, I appreciate responses to the following questions. These questions I hope elicit short answers since you've been very clear in your opening statement and answer to Senator [Max] Baucus [D-MT].

Were you liable for self-employment taxes on your IMF [International Monetary Fund] income from 2001 through 2004?

GEITHNER: Yes.

GRASSLEY: Did you submit an application for tax allowances for your income and self-employment taxes for the years 2001 through 2004?

GEITHNER: I did.

GRASSLEY: Did you sign these applications that included a certification that you would pay the taxes that you received allowances for?

GEITHNER: I did. Yes.

GRASSLEY: OK. Did you receive checks for the tax allowances you applied for?

GEITHNER: The -- yes.

GRASSLEY: OK. Did you receive statements with these checks that indicated the amount of the allowance that should be used for income and self-employment taxes? If yes, why did you remit your income taxes but not your self-employment taxes? Only if you want to add to what you said to Senator Baucus.

GEITHNER: I did not and I should have. I mistakenly believed that I was meeting my obligations fully, including self-employment taxes, but I did not prepare my returns in a way that caught that mistake initially.

GRASSLEY: Did you use software to prepare your 2001 and 2002 tax returns?

GEITHNER: I did.

GRASSLEY: You did not?

GEITHNER: I did.

GRASSLEY: Oh, you did, OK. Which brand did you use?

GEITHNER: I'm going to -- I'll answer that question, sir, but I want to say these are my responsibility, not the tax software responsibility.

GRASSLEY: OK.

GEITHNER: But I use TurboTax to prepare my returns.

GRASSLEY: Did the software prompt you to report income and pay self-employment taxes on your IMF income?

GEITHNER: Not to my recollection, Senator.

GRASSLEY: If yes -- well, "not to your recollection." Well, I thank you for answering those questions.

From the January 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Tim Geithner isn't missing 'cause he was in front of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday. You know who this guy is? He's the one who wants to be Treasury secretary, and it seemed to be smooth, smooth, smooth sailing until they found out he hadn't paid $34,000 in taxes back in the early 2000s. He's now paid those, and he's also apologizing. And for a moment yesterday, he kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program. Listen.

[begin video clip]

GEITHNER [video clip]: I'm going to -- I'll answer that question, sir, but I want to say these are my responsibility, not the tax software responsibility.

GRASSLEY: OK.

GEITHNER: But I use TurboTax to prepare my returns.

[end video clip]

CARLSON: It's an endorsement of TurboTax, really.

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Well, then, Charles Grassley, the senator from Iowa, said, "So did TurboTax pop up with the little box that said you need to pay taxes?" And he said, no, I really don't remember that part. But, effectively, he said, you know what? I didn't pay it. And it was a big mistake.

And effectively, he was throwing himself on the mercy of the Senate for confirmation. Everybody thinks he's going to wind up getting the job because he's the guy Barack Obama says is uniquely qualified for it, and if Barack Obama was facing these staggering financial problems, thinks that this is the guy, looks like he's going to get a pass.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Gretchen Carlson
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
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