US rep's top aide cited for failing to report $54K

By GREG BLUESTEIN | August 5, 2011 | 3:30 PM EDT

ATLANTA (AP) — The House Ethics Committee has sanctioned the chief of staff to Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis for failing to report and pay taxes on $54,000 from re-election campaigns between 2005 and 2009.

The committee said in a letter released Friday that Michael Collins had agreed to pay a $1,000 fine, correct any errors on his previous income tax records and pay back unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

Collins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The committee said that Collins argued he never received tax documents from Lewis' campaign. But it said the failure to receive the documents "is not a sufficient excuse" for failing to disclose and pay taxes on the income over five years.

The panel said Collins' conduct "brought discredit upon the House of Representatives."