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Records show Spratt, Mulvaney both late paying taxes

U.S. Rep. John Spratt was late in paying property taxes on two occasions at his home in Washington, D.C., resulting in $1,382 in late penalties and interest, his office confirmed to The Herald.

Meanwhile, Republican challenger Mick Mulvaney's development company made late tax payments on four different properties between 2005 and 2009, according to York County tax records.

Spratt said he paid the bills as soon as he discovered the missed deadlines. One payment was made three weeks late in September; the other was five days late in April.

Mulvaney did not want to elaborate on his company's payments and said he looks forward to talking about things people care about.

But GOP operatives pounced on Spratt's late payments as a campaign issue, pointing out the York Democrat helps run the federal budget as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

"Be it willfully or mistakenly, is it any wonder the nation's balance sheet is deep in the red when Barack Obama's budget chairman can't manage his personal finances?" asked Andy Sere, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Spratt supporters fired back Thursday that Republicans shouldn't be so quick to criticize.

"Maybe Mick Mulvaney ought to get his Washington, D.C., attack dogs to do their homework before they come after John Spratt," said Richards McCrae, chairman of the York County Democratic Party.

Spratt, 67, said he was recovering from foot surgery last summer when he missed a bill due at the end of August.

"We spent the entire month in South Carolina," Spratt said. "From time to time, our daughter sent us our bills to pay."

When Spratt discovered the missed payment on Sept. 22, he sent the Washington, D.C., treasurer a check for $6,065 in property taxes plus $606.55 in penalties and $90.98 in interest.

Tax records show the payment was received Sept. 24.

Six months later, Spratt said he left a bill in his briefcase and neglected to give it to his wife, Jane.

"I put the notice for the first installment of our property taxes, due March 31, 2010, in my briefcase and failed to give it to Jane to pay," Spratt said. "I discovered my mistake on April 5, and we sent a check right away."

The check was for $5,956 plus $595.65 in penalties and $89.35 in interest, according to the Washington, D.C., Taxpayer Service Center. Tax records show the payment was received April 8.

Spratt's five-bedroom house in Washington's Cleveland Park neighborhood has 2.5 stories and features wood floors and brick walls, tax records show.

The 2,520-square-foot home was valued at $1.2 million in the most recent tax assessment.

When Congress is not in session, Spratt returns to a home on Kings Mountain Street in York. The taxes were paid on time for the house, valued at $228,500, according to York County records.

Mulvaney has no unpaid tax bills in his home county of Lancaster, records showed. In York County, Mulvaney's company paid $20 delinquent fees in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 on lots in the McKendry and Dominion Bridge subdivisions, according to county tax records. The lots were owned by Mulvaney Properties.

Mulvaney said he never intended to make this an issue.

"It is clear the NRCC is running its own campaign," Mulvaney said. "I can assure you that my campaign is not spending any time on whether Congressman Spratt paid his taxes on time.

"We are focused on the fact that while Mr. Spratt has been budget chairman, the federal deficit has ballooned to more than $180,000 per citizen ... and that he has failed to produce a budget this year."

Politicians often face questions over late taxes, particularly around election time. This month in Idaho, Republican challenger Vaughn Ward paid a late bill for $434 after reporters brought it to his attention.

Ward circulated a document to show his opponent, U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick, had been late paying his property taxes multiple times since 1999.

Few lawmakers have taken as much heat as U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., forced to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee amid questions over corporate-financed travel and late payment of taxes on income from a beachfront rental villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.