5 Politicians Who Got Into Trouble with the IRS

Over the years, numerous politicians have catastrophically run afoul of the IRS. A brief summary follows of some of the most well-known of these crazy incidents and what exactly happened.

Spiro Agnew

On Oct. 10, 1976, Spiro Agnew admitted non-payment of federal income taxes and resigned as Vice President of the United States to avoid a prison sentence. Moments after his resignation, he entered a no-contest plea in a federal court to failure to report $29,500 of income received during his tenure as the Maryland governor in 1967. He was fined $10,000 and sentenced to a three-year probation term.


Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton, the host of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, supports the IRS on his left-leaning show, challenging conservative groups who claim that the IRS has targeted right-leaning groups. However, his personal tax problems date back to at least 1993, when he entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge for failure to file state income taxes. An article in the New York Times from Nov. 19, 2014, indicated that he owes state taxes of just over $777,000 and the federal government more than $3 million in taxes. In addition, a federal report further indicated that his organization, the National Action Network, owed more than $1.1 million in payroll taxes in 2009, one of the highest outstanding tax bills for a non-profit in the nation. He allegedly has worked out a payment plan with the government, and he has suffered no consequences to date, apart from the standard IRS fees and penalties.


Newt Gingrich

Although Newt Gingrich owed the IRS more than $26,000 in federal income taxes related to the 2012 presidential campaign, he paid off the entire balance by April 20, 2015. As a result, the politician did not suffer any consequences apart from the regularly imposed fines and penalties. An arch conservative Republican, Gingrich has argued that the President ignored complaints that the IRS targeted right-leaning groups.

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Tom Daschle

On Jan. 30, 2009, the Washington Post reported that Thomas Daschle failed to pay more than $128,000 in federal taxes over a three-year period, stemming from free use of a car and driver. However, a spokeswoman for the candidate said that he had made a payment to the IRS of more than $100,000. His tax problems first came to light during his vetting process for the high-profile position as nominee to secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He eventually withdrew from consideration for the position and paid the tax bill.


Jesse Jackson Jr.

The former representative entered a guilty plea to fraudulently obtaining $750,000 of election monies, and he was sentenced to a 30-month prison term. His wife entered a guilty plea to one count of tax fraud for her role in the cover up, and she was sentence to a 12-month prison term.


When it comes to paying your taxes, the IRS eventually collects its dues. Avoid additional penalties, fines and fees by taking proactive steps and contacting the professionals at our firm at 720-398-6088.