The Geithner Penalty Waiver Act is a variation on a theme of the Rangel Rule bill we introduced earlier this year. Both demand that everyone in this country be treated equally under the law.
As a former attorney and judge for decades before coming to Congress, I know that most Americans would pay heavy penalties, interest, and maybe even jail time for tax offenses similar to those admitted by Secretary Geithner and Chairman Rangel. Yet neither has been assessed one nickel in penalties.
My efforts on this issue are not to criticize the mistakes of others. Most of us will make mistakes or miss deadlines on taxes at some point in our life, and end up paying penalties and interest.
What is at stake is equality under the law, and by extension, the Rule of Law itself. Are we now a nation in which we blatantly allow the wealthy or politically-powerful better treatment under the law than the average working citizen?
The Rule of Law says all should be treated equally. So either these two pay appropriate penalties or interest, or no one should pay penalties or interest. That is the principal of both the Geithner Act and the Rangel Rule.