If you’re in politics, portions of your personal life come under greater scrutiny. You also can become a poster child for the IRS if you make serious errors with your taxes. Louisiana State Representative Girod Jackson is finding that out.
Representative Jackson is alleged to have understated his gross receipts on his 2006 tax return by leaving out $492,000 of gross receipts from a business he owned and not filing his 2007 or 2008 returns. Representative Jackson resigned from the Louisiana legislature on Friday.
In a statement that is quoted in nola.com, Representative Jackson stated that he had made errors on his returns:
During my time in office, I have worked to be a symbol of honor and pride for myself and the constituents of the 87th District…And while I aim to live my life with dignity and respect, I am not without fault. Several years ago, there were filing errors on my business tax returns and delayed initial filings arising from accounting errors and oversight. Today, I have accepted the consequences of those mistakes.
While the Justice Department press release notes that the prosecution stems from an investigation by the IRS, the nola.com story notes that Mr. Jackson’s business was under scrutiny from an audit related to work following Hurricane Gustav.
A helpful hint to politicians: File and pay your taxes timely. If you don’t, you’re a superb target for the IRS. The IRS doesn’t instigate many criminal prosecutions (you do have to try hard for this). The targets chosen are done so because there crimes are especially egregious or by prosecuting them there will be publicity that could lead to a deterrent on others. Politicians are held to a higher standard, so they meet both these goals of an IRS prosecution. It appears Mr. Jackson found this out too late.