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Daschle's Confirmation Hinges on Tax Flap

POSTED: 05:03 PM ET, 02/ 2/2009 by Derek Kravitz

As Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's pick to become the head of the Health and Human Services Department, heads into a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee, his political future hangs in the balance.

Days ago, Obama administration officials disclosed that Daschle failed to report on his taxes the use of a chauffeured limousine totaling more than $255,000, which was provided by InterMedia Advisors LLP, a private-equity firm run by a wealthy New York investor.

Because of it, Daschle had to pay back taxes and interest totaling a "jaw-dropping" $140,000.

Since then, questions have swirled about Daschle's decision to wait nearly a month after being nominated to disclose the accounting errors. And critics have pounced on details of his financial disclosure report, which shows Daschle made nearly $5.3 million in the past two years, including $220,000 in speaking fees from health-related organizations. [Edited for clarity at 17:46 on Feb. 2.]

Appearing on CBS' Face The Nation, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would take a "wait-and-see" approach as to Daschle's nomination, calling the tax issues a "surprise."

Daschle released a letter today, apologizing to the Senate Finance Committee for mistakes on his personal income tax returns that resulted in $146,000 in back payments.

"I disclosed this information to the Committee voluntarily, and paid the taxes and any interest owed promptly," Daschle wrote. "My mistakes were unintentional."

And Obama said today that he "absolutely" stands by the former Senate majority leader and South Dakota lawmaker.

By Derek Kravitz |  February 2, 2009; 5:03 PM ET
Previous: Daschle's Tax Troubles and Executive Pay Cuts | Next: Weighing Obama's Promises, Freed Kilpatrick 'Not Bitter', FTC Sues in 'Pay-for-Delay' Pact

Comments

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I am a big supporter of the President, but whoever is responsible for vetting Sen. Daschle should receive a major reprimand if not demotion. Daschle's connections to all the wrong folks render him major, unneeded baggage if health care reform is to succeed.

Posted by: Eugene6 | February 2, 2009 5:58 PM

Why does the news media get in bed with any nominee that Obama wants? This guy is a crook so call him a "CROOK!" same as the TS. The people who stole millions from their investors were crooks. Madoff is a crook. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and lays duck eggs --"IT"S A DUCK!"
Why does the media think the public is stupid? If I owed the IRS one thin dime---They would spend $100,000 to collect it.

Posted by: nmrabbit | February 2, 2009 6:59 PM

Gee: if his judgment is so poor in relation to a $100,000... you might just as well call it a personal gain... what will his judgment be like in relation to this whole new vast scale of money involved in health and medical care. It's sort of like, "This man had his chance and 'blew it'! Big time." If he was a man's man, I think he would have stepped aside immediately upon this problem coming to light... if only for his country... keeping the members of President Obama's team as a whole unassailable. Unfortunately, this only too human man is not doing the right thing here, compounding his not paying his taxes correctly. Am I wrong???

Posted by: DarylAtamanyk | February 2, 2009 6:59 PM

"I disclosed this information to the Committee voluntarily ..."

Yep, as soon as this sweet job came up, I suddenly realized that I had better fess up. If there had been no job, I would have kept quietly to myself ....

Posted by: hongkongkid | February 2, 2009 7:41 PM

Su-weet! Daschle dodges $140,000 in income taxes and penalties, doesn't pay his Medicare taxes, claims more charitable deductions than he made, looks really dirty for some of his "advisor fees" and payments from health ins. companies, but the "democrats" don't see any problems with any of that, nothing to disqualify him for the Health and Human Services job. Oops, I forgot, they're democrats, no ethics, morality, honesty, or honor to get in their way! Daschle probably doesn't have a clue why there is any uproar about it! Don't expect Sharpton or Geithner think he did anything wrong! The Messiah doesn't see any problem! There's your "Change", allright! The jackals are breaking into the henhouse! (Ya think maybe Geithner will go after him for tax evasion?) Remember - Wright, Farrakhan, Phleger, Rezko, Blagojevich, Asbahi, Khalidi, Dodd, Sharpton, Rangel, Richardson, Geithner, Daschle, abortion extremists, Obama: Birds of a feather flock together.

Posted by: lightnin001 | February 3, 2009 11:16 AM

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