Daschle's Confirmation Hinges on Tax Flap
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
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