Are the free seats provided to the D.C. Council by area teams and venues considered taxable income when councilmembers use them in their personal capacity?

Access to Verizon Center and Nationals Park tickets is one of the strangest—and more controversial—benefits of being a councilmember. While councilmembers sometimes use the tickets for purposes having nothing to do with their jobs, Chairman Phil Mendelson says they don’t have to be reported as income because they’re considered a gift to the entire Council, not to individual members.

Our Readers Say

OK, but what about when the CMs give them to their staff? It's pretty tough for an employer to characterize a benefit to an employee a "gift". They probably ought to report it on their income taxes, but surely don't. But I doubt the IRS cares.
As powerful as the DC City Council Chairman is, he doesn't make or enforce Federal tax law. What does the IRS think of Phil's position on this?

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