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The Taxman Cometh For Franken

Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken's tax problems snowball:

Senate candidate Al Franken, dogged by accusations that he failed to file tax returns in California, said Tuesday he will pay about $70,000 in back income taxes in 17 states dating to 2003.

Most of the income at issue was from speeches and other paid appearances by the comedian-turned candidate, who said he got bad advice from his accountant but takes responsibility for the errors.

Reading through the stories, it sounds like an honest mistake by his accountant -- but it's still infuriating, since Taxgate is now dragging Al down in the polls in what should be the third-easiest Democratic Senate pickup (after Virginia and New Hampshire). The idea that the story could melt away quick is a fantasy: It's a deliciously easy way for Republicans to paint Franken a rich jet-setter, and I mean, at one point Obama's seventeen unpaid parking tickets briefly became a real story, and that's a far cry from failing to pay income taxes in seventeen states.

--Eve Fairbanks