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Just Who's Getting Taken for a Ride?


The Town Car and its chauffeured brethren: the downfall of many a VIP. (Ford)

Another savvy pol taken down by a car and driver. Tom Daschle -- the insider's insider -- fails to pay taxes on the limo and chauffeur provided to him. Will they never learn? That "free" ride always ends up costing a bundle.

A crash history for all you would-be nominees:

  • 1986: Former White House official Mike Deaver is photographed lobbying while sitting in a limo, and the image becomes Time magazine's cover. Ronald Reagan's pal is slammed for influence peddling and convicted on three counts of perjury for false testimony to Congress and a grand jury.

  • 1991: White House Chief of Staff John Sununu resigns after taking a government limo from Washington to a rare-stamp auction in New York, sending the car and driver back alone and flying back to D.C. on a corporate jet.

  • 1993: FBI Director William Sessions gets fired after the Justice Department accuses him of ethics violations. Topping the list? Letting his wife use official cars for trips to the hairdresser and dressmaker and to go shopping.

  • 2005: American University President Benjamin Ladner is forced to resign for misappropriation of university funds including, but not limited to, using a car and driver to take his wife to the beauty salon and his kids bar-hopping in Georgetown. Former driver dimed him out.

  • 2007: Smithsonian Secretary Larry Small loses job for excessive spending -- such as $2,800 on a car service for four days in Los Angeles, claiming it would have been a "safety risk" for him to "carry as much cash as would have been needed to pay a taxi."

  • 2008: Wall Street execs are shocked that Washington lawmakers handing out bailout billions question $200,000-a-year cars and drivers; bankers say they need chauffeurs to work more efficiently.

  • 2009: Tom Daschle doesn't declare car and driver as income -- because he was so used to having them as Senate majority leader? Oops.

  • By The Reliable Source  |  February 4, 2009; 6:52 AM ET
     
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