Recent investigations by NBC News have laid bare an unsettling pattern of tardiness in Senator Joe Manchin’s tax payments. Records indicate that the Senator, who seemingly cannot bring himself to punctually pay the sums owed, has fallen behind on his personal property and real estate taxes for several years.

Only a week ago, Manchin had to clear a backlog of nearly $700 in taxes that had been accruing for the past three years in Marion County, West Virginia, on a pontoon boat and multiple trailers. Just the previous year, he’d had to remit nearly $630 in overdue tax payments to the same county for taxes due on cars, boats, and trailers from 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“Like most West Virginians, Senator Manchin has always paid every tax bill he’s received in full and any lapse in payment has been quickly rectified as soon as he has been made aware,” his spokesperson declared with seemingly unshakeable faith in the Senator’s integrity. This casual dismissal fails to recognize the persistent pattern of tardiness that paints a concerning picture of Manchin’s fiscal responsibility.

From the records examined, some payments were made just days after their due dates, while others languished for months, and in some cases, years. All the while, fines and accumulated interest were piling up, amplifying the seriousness of the oversight.

Yet, this is the same Senator Manchin who voted to increase the tax burden on his constituents via the Inflation Reduction Act. It seems there is a certain irony in a senator advocating for greater tax collection, yet being unable to meet his own tax obligations promptly.

Marion County Clerk Julie Kincaid has downplayed the incident, citing the nominal sums involved. However, the issue here is not about the amount owed, but the pattern of negligence from an elected official. Tax payments, like other aspects of a citizen’s life, should be handled responsibly and punctually, especially by someone in such a prominent public position.

As Manchin may face a grueling re-election campaign, he must surely realize the gravity of his financial recklessness. Not to mention, he is not alone in his tax tribulations – Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also seems to be sharing this precarious boat. Meanwhile, the GOP’s Jim Justice faces legal action over unpaid environmental fines. A wild ride awaits, it seems. But for now, we are left with an irritating question – Why can’t Senator Manchin pay his taxes on time?

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