Alaska: NRSC Attacks Begich for Late Business Taxes

Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:48pm

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) had more than $16,000 worth of tax liens put against his vending machine business in the 1990s, according to research provided by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Begich, considered a top recruit by national Democrats, has formed an exploratory committee as a precursor to running against Sen. Ted Stevens (R) this fall in what could be the senior Senator’s most competitive election to date.

According to Begich’s exploratory committee, he and his brother founded Northstar Vending in the early 1990s and fell behind on payroll tax payments in the following years. Once notified by the Internal Revenue Service, the committee said the brothers paid off the lien: about $8,820 in 1995 and $8,024 in 1997. Begich’s campaign also disclosed a separate 1996 incident in which he was a 1 percent investor in a local cafe that did not pay its taxes.

“Mark Begich has admitted to this failure in judgment and even admitted in his response to more failures — we believe voters have the right to know that Begich has a pattern of bad decisions that prove this,” said NRSC spokeswoman Rebecca Fisher.

Begich’s exploratory campaign said the GOP’s news release shows he is already on the receiving end of “typical Washington negative attacks.”

“Like with all small businesses, some have been successful and some not, but I’ve always paid my taxes, made payroll to my employees and I believe everyone should pay their taxes,” Begich said in a statement.

The Begich campaign reported on Monday that it had collected about $260,000 since the candidate began raising money on Feb. 27.
— Shira Toeplitz