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BY: Haris Alic
Mike Espy, the Democrat vying to capture a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi, paid off more than $267,000 in outstanding income taxes shortly after undertaking a lucrative lobbying contract with an African despot accused of crimes against humanity.
Espy - Cabinet - Official - Allegations - Impropriety
Espy, a Clinton-era cabinet official who resigned over allegations of financial and ethical impropriety, has spent the past two decades cashing in on his political connections as a trial lawyer, lobbyist, and commentator.
Throughout those roles, Espy reported an annual income exceeding $761,000, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the Senate Ethics committee.
Income - Espy - Tax - Liens - Internal
Despite the high income, Espy has had nearly eight different tax liens filed against him by the Internal Revenue Service for failing to pay income taxes throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Several of the liens date back to income Espy earned in 1992 while serving as a member of Congress and extend to the entirety of his tenure leading the Department of Agriculture.
The three most recent liens filed by the IRS against Espy were in June 2009 and September and December 2010. Those liens, totaling more than $267,000, remained unpaid until shortly after Espy entered into a fruitful lobbying contract with the government of Côte d'Ivoire.
Espy - Business - Arrangement - Consultancy - Ivory
Espy's business arrangement, officially a three-month, $750,000 consultancy through the Ivory Coast's Coffee and Cocoa Regulatory Board, came at the same time the country was undergoing political turmoil. Côte d'Ivoire's then-president, Laurent Gbagbo, had just lost his reelection bid and was refusing to cede power. Gbagbo, who had ruled the country since 2000 through extralegal means, denounced attempts to remove him from office as a "coup d'etat" and ordered forces loyal to him to kill, torture, and sexually assault political opponents.
Although the standoff lasted less than a year, the State Department has estimated Gbagbo's action resulted in approximately 3,000 casualties. In 2016, Gbagbo...
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