House Dems Owed D.C. Thousands in Unpaid Property Taxes, Records Show

At least six Dem members penalized by D.C. for failure to pay

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May 6, 2021

Several members of the House Democratic caucus were penalized for failing to pay taxes on their Washington, D.C., properties on time, according to city tax records.

Records show that at least six Democratic members were penalized by the District of Columbia for failure to pay 2020 property taxes due at the end of March. Included in the group is Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D., Texas), who owed a combined $9,145.61 on the two Capitol Hill homes he listed on his financial disclosure forms.

Gonzalez’s fellow tax delinquents were Democratic representatives John Garamendi (Calif.), Sean Casten (Ill.), Andy Kim (N.J.), Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), and Deborah Ross (N.C.). Each was charged interest and a penalty, in addition to the balance they already owe on their homes in the nation’s capital.

The decision to stiff D.C. came as House Democrats unanimously voted last month to make it a state. On April 22, the House passed a 216-208 party-line vote to admit the District of Columbia as the nation’s 51st state. After the House’s vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) boasted that "I often say that statehood for the District of Columbia is in my DNA."

According to his D.C. tax records, Gonzalez had the biggest debt—he owed $9,145.61 on his two properties after missing the city’s March 31 deadline. On one of his homes, he owed the property tax itself of $4,682.95, as well as hundreds of dollars in penalties assessed by the district; Gonzalez owed property interest of $70.24 and a property penalty of $468.30. On his other district home, he owed the property tax itself of $3,519.39, along with $52.79 in interest and $351.94 in penalties, according to MyTax DC, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue’s online tax system.

Following Gonzalez in taxes owed to the district is Casten, an Illinois Democrat who has faced criticism for declaring his D.C. condo as his primary residence while running for Congress in Illinois. Casten owed the district $3,579.60 on a Massachusetts Avenue property, which he has not fully paid off. At the time of publication, Casten still owed D.C. $522.47; his office did not respond to a request for comment.

Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, owed the district $1,117.57 on his late property taxes. Records show both Maloney and Gonzalez paid off their balances on May 5, the same day the Free Beacon reached their offices for comment.

Kim rounds out the list of delinquent House Democrats. He failed to pay the full $4,184.96 owed for his D.C. property. Kim also failed to pay property taxes on the D.C. parking spot he owns, adding another $71.09 in payments he owed the district. A Kim spokesman blamed a mortgage company for the late payments, telling the Washington Free Beacon, "Congressman Kim recently refinanced his home earlier this year, at which time a prepayment was made to the escrow account to cover property taxes. The new mortgage company mistakenly underpaid by a little over $200. The balance has since been paid off."

Garamendi has a net worth of at least $1.9 million, according to the Los Angeles Times, but was late to pay D.C. $4,496.32.

Ross, a freshman member, owed $4,556.16 before paying the balance down.

The six Democratic incumbents were joined in tax delinquency by former congressman Harley Rouda (D., Calif.), who also supported D.C. statehood during his one term in office. Rouda, who was defeated last November but is running to reclaim his old seat, had a net worth of up to $103,631,996 when first elected to Congress and owes $10,682.15 in payments to D.C. at the time of publication. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.