HOUSTON, Texas— Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke said in an interview published Tuesday that he wants to force businesses — such as a “local furniture store” — to collect taxes for sales made across state lines. His plan would add layers of government compliance costs to local businesses and require business owners in Texas to collect sales tax for other states.
It is an interesting policy position given his family history of breaking tax laws while running a furniture store in El Paso.
“Rep. Beto O’Rourke has been campaigning on ethics in government, but he’s been hiding his mother’s conviction for tax fraud, his personal stake in her furniture company and his profiting from the company,” said Cruz campaign spokeswoman Emily Miller. “Texans deserve elected officials with strong values and ethics.”
Charlotte’s Furniture, a company that was controlled by Rep. O’Rourke’s mother, Melissa, was convicted of tax fraud. On behalf of her company, she pled guilty in 2010 to making a series of cash deposits of just under $10,000 — designed to avoid IRS scrutiny. (The structuring law she violated was originally designed to help stop drug-related money laundering operations.)
Melissa O’Rourke was sentenced to pay a fine of $500,000. Suspiciously, parts of her case are sealed by the court.
Rep. O’Rourke was financially connected to this criminal activity by more than just family relationship. Rep. O’Rourke and Melissa co-own the shopping center where Charlotte’s Inc. resided. In 2012, Melissa gave her son what congressional records indicate was a $1 million to $5 million stake in the property.
Rep. O’Rourke has been praising his mother, who campaigns with him, but he doesn’t tell Texas voters about her business’s criminal activity. His recent statements advocating that local businesses become tax collection agents for every state in the nation stand in stark contrast to his mother’s history of tax evasion.
Note that Melissa O’Rourke has donated over $10,000 to her son Rep. O’Rourke’s campaigns.