I wrote last week about the tax troubles facing Damon Wallace, candidate for Arkansas House District 96. Since then, I have dug further into Wallace’s tax records. What I found is troubling.
You might recall that Wallace’s Statement of Financial Interest revealed that he owes the Internal Revenue Service approximately $30,000. This was the only governmental debt that Wallace listed — but this is not the only governmental debt that Wallace has. According to the Benton County Tax Collector, Wallace also owes nearly $1,600 in back property taxes from 2011:
In addition, Wallace owes $67 to Independence County in delinquent fees:
The 2013 amounts seen on these listings are not due until October of this year, I’m told. This includes the $451.25 in real estate taxes owed to Independence County. But the $67 delinquent fee is for trash pickup from 2012, according to the Independence County collector’s office.
Obviously these debts are small when compared to a $30,000 IRS bill. However, as I mentioned, Wallace failed to report these debts on his SFI. That is not a small matter.
According to the language on the SFI form, “the law provides for a maximum penalty of $2,000 per violation and/or imprisonment for not more than one year for any person who knowingly or willfully fails to comply” with disclosure rules. Wallace’s signature on the SFI also affirmed that all of the information he disclosed was correct, “under penalty of false swearing.”
Now, I’m not here to convict anyone — obviously record-keeping errors happen all the time and this could just be a big misunderstanding. But if these two county tax collectors have their records straight, I have little doubt that Wallace should’ve reported the debt on his SFI. It is obvious that he failed to do so.
I’ll also add that, even though we all make mistakes, anyone who wants to serve in the state legislature — a body whose primary duty is to write the state budget every year — should at the very least have his or her personal taxes in order.
I’ve tried repeatedly to contact Wallace for comment on these matters. Thus far, my requests have not been fulfilled.
Furthermore, based on what I have seen so far, this is really just the tip of the iceberg of Damon Wallace’s financial and political problems. Stay tuned. More to come.