Sam Antar knows an inequitable situation when he sees one: Memo to SEC: If Weiner and Spitzer can run for office again, why am I still banned from being an officer or director of a public company? — Sam E. Antar (@SamAntar) July 23, 2013 A regular reader of GC wondered to us: "In Spitzer's […]
In January, the tax world was still reeling from the extension of the Bush-era tax rate cuts signed into law in December. It also allowed rich people who died in 2010 to go to their rest without paying estate taxes, making George Steinbrenner a happy ghost. It also allowed living taxpayers to make tax-free […]
The Post reports that Anthony Weiner’s “2010 tax return shows he took $40,521 in unspecified itemized deductions on an income of $156,117.”
It quotes “Manhattan CPA” Jonathan Medows as saying “It’s definitely a very large deduction,” and “[they] appeared to include more than the standard writeoffs for state and local taxes and Weiner’s mortgage.” If you were to guess to where the “unspecified itemized deductions” of $40k were located, they are probably included on line 28 of Schedule A for “Other Miscellaneous Deductions.” Of course what exactly the deductions are, is a mystery. But if you’ve got some ideas, we’d love to hear them. [NYP]
Last time we saw Congressman Anthony Weiner, he was attempting to discuss the IRS’ role in the enforcement of healthcare with spin-hater Bill O’Reilly. While that particular encounter was quite fun (especially Weiner’s huffing and O’Reilly’s eye-rolling) the video of the Congressman’s recent appearance on Fox Business News is quite good.
But what we’d really like to see him have a conversation with Barry Minkow about how that Barry thinks the Congressman’s report on Goldline International is unmitigated bullshit:
Friend of GC, Tracy Coenen participated in the Minkow’s investigation and she presents the findings over at Fraud Files Blog. Here’s a sample:
• Allegation: Weiner criticizes Goldline because of complaints on the website Ripoff Report lodged by consumers who say Goldline representatives improperly hold themselves out as investment advisors.
• What Weiner didn’t tell you: Ripoff Report says (in response to the consumer complaints) that you can feel completely confident doing business with Goldline. Weiner gave us only half of the story in his report.
Allegation: Goldline grossly overcharges for its products
What Weiner didn’t tell you: Our sampling of coins listed in the Weiner report showed that Goldline’s prices were very comparable to those of six competitors. He also forgot to mention that companies are free to set whatever prices they like for their products.
Allegation: Goldline says they’ll buy back your gold and silver, but doesn’t “guarantee” that
What Weiner didn’t tell you: It is against the law for Goldline to offer a buyback guarantee. If they offered such a guarantee, they would be in violation of securities laws because their salespeople are not licensed broker dealers.
Regardless of how you feel about Glenn Beck, gold coins, or Anthony Weiner’s Fox News-esque ability for interrupting, it kinda sorta sounds like the Congressman’s investigators don’t know a non-fraud when they see one. Besides, we’ll take the word of a convicted-felon-turned-fraud-buster over any report that comes out of Congress. Especially in an election year.
A message left with Congressman Weiner’s spokesperson was not immediately returned.
Goldline International: An In-Depth Look at Congressman Weiner’s Allegations, And How He Got It Wrong [FDI]
Barry Minkow debunks the Glenn Beck and Goldline International fraud connection [Fraud Files Blog]
Weiner Takes on Goldline and Fox Business — At The Same Time [Weiner.house.gov]
• Accounting convergence threatened by EU drive [FT]
Somewhat of a bombshell was dropped over the weekend when an EU politician suggested that funding for the IASB could be subject to its willingness to buckle to political pressure, according to the Financial Times. Michel Barnier, the EU’s new internal market commissioner would like ‘issuers – more banks and more companies – and more prudential regulators represented on the governing board [of the IASB],’ and suggested that it was too early to determine if the IASB’s scant budget of $6.5 million would be increased.
The FT reports that the EU pols “believe prudential regulators should be morovernance so that accounting can be used as a tool for financial stability,” despite the feeling of other countries (e.g. U.S. and Japan) that accounting rules “should not be the subject of regulatory intervention but should focus on providing an accurate snapshot of a company’s value.”
This difference in opinion on what the purpose of accounting is could disrupt the convergence process which won’t do much to impress the G20 chaps who demanded some progress on the global accounting sitch.
• IRS Expansion [Factcheck.org via TaxProf Blog]
Those 16,500 new IRS agents you keep hearing about, or is 17,000? Whatever it is, Factcheck.org was posed the question about this small army of tax enforcers that will be marching into your home, heavily armed and stealing your freedom by forcing you to buy healthcare that you don’t want.
Are you prepared for this shock? Turns out, it’s not true:
This wildly inaccurate claim started as an inflated, partisan assertion that 16,500 new IRS employees might be required to administer the new law. That devolved quickly into a claim, made by some Republican lawmakers, that 16,500 IRS “agents” would be required. Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas even claimed in a televised interview that all 16,500 would be carrying guns. None of those claims is true.
The IRS’ main job under the new law isn’t to enforce penalties. Its first task is to inform many small-business owners of a new tax credit that the new law grants them — starting this year — which will pay up to 35 percent of the employer’s contribution toward their workers’ health insurance. And in 2014 the IRS will also be administering additional subsidies — in the form of refundable tax credits — to help millions of low- and middle-income individuals buy health insurance.
Plus, Doug Shulman testified before the House Ways & Means Committee that the Service will not be auditing individuals, rather, “insurance companies will issue forms [some possibilities here] certifying that individuals have coverage that meets the federal mandate, similar to a form that lenders use to verify the amount of interest someone has paid on their home mortgage. ‘We expect to get a simple form, that we won’t look behind, that says this person has acceptable health coverage,’ Shulman said.” So maybe this is what Anthony Weiner was trying to explain to Bill O’Reilly?
• Federal Prosecutors Leaning Against Charges in AIG Probe [WSJ]
If you were thinking that it would only be a matter of time before Joe Cassano was charged with pushing the financial apocalypse button, you’re about to be severely disappointed. The Journal is reporting — citing “people familiar with the matter” eight times or so — that the former head of the AIG Financial Products unit is not likely to be charged by the Department of Justice for deceiving PricewaterhouseCoopers about AIG’s exposure to credit default swaps.
The DOJ was initially under the impression that Cassano had not informed PwC about an adjustment that AIG had made to make the losses from the CDS look just horrendous as opposed to catastrophic. When PwC came back with a material weakness on AIG’s internal controls, they abandoned the adjustment. The DOJ’s investigation turned up some notes of a PwC auditor that show that Cassano had told the firm about the adjustment thus, covering his ass. The Feds haven’t officially made up their minds about charging Cassano but this element was considered a “central issue.”
The whole thing is worth watching but 4:17 is where it starts getting awesome.
Did you count? Congressman Weiner was rendered silent for approximately 13 seconds!
Weiner: I’ll say that again – that are just lies.
Weiner: I’m answering the question, you’re making stuff up.
O’Reilly: Ask Wesley Snipes
Weiner gives the loudest SIGH we’ve ever heard around 4:30
Weiner: Watch this Bill, watch this.
O’Reilly: I asked you five times.
Best look given by each: