A Democratic congresswoman who recently claimed she paid "more in taxes" than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was revealed last week to have skipped out on thousands of dollars in business taxes.
Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D., Wash.) was at least six months late on a property tax bill of $6,592.18 on a Portland, Ore., auto-repair shop she owned with her husband, The Oregonian reported Wednesday. Her failure to pay the tax came as she made tax paying central to her political messaging. Last April, while her tax bill was delinquent, she tried to fundraise on Twitter off the claim that in 2022 she "paid more in taxes than Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person in the country."
"[Y]ou read that right," she wrote. "This system doesn’t work for everyday folks. Stand with me to demand a fair tax code that forces the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share."
Perez says she was busy with other things but that the bill had since "been paid in full." She gave up ownership of the auto shop after flipping Washington's Third Congressional District in the 2022 midterm elections. She did not respond to the Washington Free Beacon's request for comment.
Perez may have been comparing her tax rate, rather than her total tax bill, to that of Bezos. Last year, Bezos paid $973 million in taxes on a reported $4.22 billion in income, a rate of about 1 percentage point, The Washington Post reported based on his IRS filings.
In a March interview on the progressive Pod Save America political podcast, Perez pointed to her role as a taxpaying citizen as a primary reason she beat her Republican opponent Joe Kent by less than 1 percent of the vote.
"I really believe what people want is normalcy, like we want people that pay their own taxes, and like, you know, that are on the waitlists for daycare and are trying to navigate the world, like running a small business," she said to host Jon Favreau.
While Perez last week cited her campaign as a reason for not paying her taxes, she made a different claim during a campaign debate against Kent.
"As a small business owner, I don't have the luxury of being in fights all day because I've got to worry about making payroll and paying my taxes," she said last September, two months before the tax deadline she blew past.
One of Gluesenkamp Perez's first votes as a freshman congresswoman was to preserve new funding for 87,000 additional IRS agents.
Washington's third district, which spans rural southwest Washington, was considered a safe Republican seat until the primary shakeup by Kent. Republicans have made winning back the district a top priority in 2024.