Durbin joins fellow Illinois Democrat Barack Obama in a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, echoing Congressman Henry Waxman's allegation that Blackwater has evaded federal taxes by paying its contractors as contractors, and not as employees.
A muckraking blog is running what is purported to be the text of the Durban-Obama letter on October 26. For Kerry's latest, see the post below.
"We are writing to ask for a full investigation and audit of Blackwater USA’s practice of classifying many of its personnel as independent contractors instead of employees. As House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman recently found, Blackwater may have enjoyed an unfair competitive advantage over other contractors if its classification were incorrect, and as a result, may owe the American taxpayer millions of dollars in Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes," the letter says.
The most prominent critic of Blackwater in the Illinois congressional delegation, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, has been silent on the tax issue. Her husband is a convicted tax evader felon.
In a 2005 speech on the Senate floor (pictured), Durbin recanted his abuse of American military personnel, saying that "some may believe" he crossed the line (though not admitting so himself), wrapped himself in Abraham Lincoln and stressed how much he loves his country:
"Some may believe my remarks crossed the line. To them I extend my heartfelt apologies. There’s usually a quote by Abraham Lincoln that you can turn to in moments like this. Maybe this is the right one. Lincoln said “If the end brings me out right what is set against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong ten thousand angels swarming at his right won’t make any difference.” In the end I don’t want anything in my public career to detract from my love of this country, my respect for those who serve it, and this great Senate. I offer my apologies for those who were offended by my words, I promise you that I will continue to speak out on the issues I think are important to the people of Illinois and to the Nation. Mr.President I yield to the floor."