The businessman behind an ambitious effort to field an alternative, nonpartisan presidential candidate has paid millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties for his part in an alleged tax shelter scheme, records and interviews show.
Originally slapped with a $150 million tax bill by the IRS, investor Peter Ackerman resolved his tax disputes in June in an undisclosed settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. Ackerman is the founding chairman and president of Americans Elect, the fledgling political group he has seeded with at least $1.55 million.
Yesterday, Americans Elect began turning in 1.6 million signatures to become officially recognized as a political party on the California ballot in time for the 2012 presidential election. The organization plans to nominate a centrist, split-party ticket through an Internet vote in which any registered voter can participate.
The United States Tax Court ruled in 2005 that Ackerman was involved in a tax shelter, and the IRS determined that he owed $150 million. Another tax court ruling in 2009 found that he owed an additional $2.6 million and that his testimony in that case was not credible. Ackerman appealed both cases.
James Joseph, an attorney who handled Ackerman’s federal cases, said the disputes have “nothing to do with an unwillingness to pay his fair share.”