Wayne Barrett’s “The Truth Behind Troopergate” first raised the question as to whether state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno needs to report his taxpayer-funded personal travel to the IRS as income. Then the Bruno camp went ballistic when Senate Democrats drafted a letter to the IRS about the Senate Majority Leader’s travel. Now Spitzer’s Press Secretary Christine Anderson says what’s wrong with asking the IRS to investigate whether there was some impropriety:
Recent newspaper articles suggest that for many years Senator Bruno has been using state vehicles for trips that included personal political business. Media outlets have raised questions about the tax implications of those trips, because personal use of state airplanes, helicopters and cars is considered a fringe benefit that must be reported as imputed income,* and Senator Bruno’s aide indicates that Senator Bruno has never paid taxes for these trips.
Executive Chamber staff and Senate staff appropriately discussed whether these alleged tax violations should be formally referred to the relevant authorities. Senator Bruno is simply trying to divert attention by claiming that it was somehow improper for government employees to consider asking enforcement agencies to look into this matter. It is not. To the contrary, it is appropriate for relevant authorities to determine whether it warrants investigation.