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Scott Brown, Tax Cheat?

We already know Scott Brown’s vision of taxes and public service. Brown’s on the side of the powerful and the wealthy and the big banks, but he

We already know Scott Brown’s vision of taxes and public service. Brown’s on the side of the powerful and the wealthy and the big banks, but he doesn’t mind sticking it to the little guy, to the family struggling to cover their mortgage and save a little for their kids’ college education, the patriot who rushes to people in need.

We already knew Scott Brown was looking out for his fact cat backers. Now, as we learn how he treats his own employees, we see that he’s really just out for himself.

Scott Brown’s campaign wants you to believe they don’t have employees. According to his campaign finance reports, Brown pays his staff as if they were independent contractors. He doesn’t just pay his media and other consultants that way, he pays his lowest-level staff as if they weren’t really his employees.

Campaigns often use the services of people who are accurately classified as independent contractors. But it’s impossible for any major campaign to reach the final weekend of the race and, as the Brown campaign wants people to believe, not have employees. It may be true that the Federal Elections Commission doesn’t designate how campaigns designate their staffers. But the Internal Revenue Service does have specific rules on who can and cannot be classified an independent contractor. If a worker takes direct instructions on tasks, has hours mandated by the employer, uses facilities and tools supplied by the employer, or is working exclusively for that employer, they’re not an independent contractor, they’re an employee. [Look here;(pdf) for the kinds of questions the IRS asks to determine employee status.] By any reasonable standard, at this late point in the campaign, when workers are working exclusively for the campaign, are taking direct orders from the candidate or other staff, and where they are working in campaign headquarters, spending campaign money, using campaign equipment, and representing themselves as Brown’s campaign staff, they’re undoubtedly employees.

By paying his staff as contractors instead of employees, Scott Brown avoids any responsibility to be a good employer and provide them health insurance. That alone should be enough to disqualify him in the minds of many voters. But by paying his staff as contractors, Brown has also managed to avoid his responsibility to pay their payroll taxes. Brown has pushed his tax obligation off on to his employees, which is not only selfish, it’s also probably a violation of federal law.

It’s no surprise that Brown evaded questions about paying his staff as contractors, directing people to speak to his attorneys. And it’s no surprise his attorneys wouldn’t comment on the issue, because Scott Brown is almost certainly in violation of federal tax laws.

Scott Brown: champion of bankers and special interests, and tax cheat who pushes his obligations off on to his employees.

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