Washington Babylon — July 28, 2008, 7:33 am

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett: Practicing what he preaches

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland hates taxes. A few years back, he signed on to a Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement that called for a total overhaul of the tax system, including abolition of the capital gains tax and the inheritance tax.

Now Bartlett “is refusing to release income tax returns that would show whether he paid taxes on several property sales that he failed to report on personal financial disclosure forms.”

Spokeswoman Lisa Wright says the 6th District Republican paid any required corporate gain taxes on the sales. But Wright says Bartlett won’t release his tax returns because he isn’t legally required to. The Frederick News-Post reported earlier this week that property records indicate Bartlett underreported or failed to report on his federally mandated disclosure forms roughly $1 million in property sales since 2004.

The Liberty Caucus statement on taxes that Bartlett signed on to lauded “personal responsibility.” Here’s Bartlett assuming personal responsibility:

Mr. Bartlett, 82, has acknowledged the discrepancies and has said the errors are the result of his inattentiveness and confusion by others, including a staff member whom Mr. Bartlett said misread his handwritten notes. [His spokeswoman] said the staff member mistook the numeral 4 for a 1. The error caused Mr. Bartlett to under-report the selling price of a house.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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