Beavers Convicted: Loans Require Payback

I’m shocked, just shocked to find out that there’s corruption in Chicago.

Actually, I’m not. I’m just surprised to find out that gambling led to the downfall of a cog in the Democrats’ machine politics in the Windy City. Commissioner Bill Beavers was convicted today of corruptly impeding the IRS and three counts of filing false tax returns. Beavers used his campaign warchest as a personal piggy bank to fund gambling trips to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.

Beavers and his attorneys alleged that the money he took from the campaign funds were “loans.” There’s one thing about loans that I emphasize to my clients: They require documentation. As Assistant US Attorney Matt Getter said, “He put back [only] what he needed to put back to cover his tracks.” Acting US Attorney was more succinct:

The message that was sent here was that Bill Beavers took a lot of money people gave him to run his campaigns and he stuck it in his pocket, and a lot of it, he gambled…For that, at least, he should have paid his taxes, and he didn’t.

One of Mr. Beavers’ statements is interesting: “There’s no law against what I did…There’s no law against gambling with campaign funds.” I have no idea of the state of Illinois’ campaign finance laws; however, I do know something about the Internal Revenue Code. If you take money from a campaign fund and use it personally, it is almost certainly income to you. And that income is clearly taxable. Further, not reporting all your income on your tax return can be a crime. In Mr. Beavers’ case, it was a crime.

Mr. Beavers may continue to proclaim his innocence, calling the judge “unfair.” From my point of view, it looks like the government did a pretty good job of proving its case.

No sentencing date has been announced.

News Reports: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times

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