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Tom Daschle: Tax Cheat

by @ 8:15 am on January 31, 2009. Filed under Barack Obama, Politics, Transition Issues

It looks like Tim Geithner isn’t the only Obama nominee with a tax problem, former Senator Tom Daschle has an even bigger one:

Thomas A. Daschle, nominated to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, did not pay more than $128,000 in taxes over three years, a revelation that poses a potential obstacle to his Senate confirmation.

The back taxes, along with $12,000 in interest and penalties, involved unreported consulting fees, questionable charitable contributions, and a car and driver provided by a private equity firm run by entrepreneur and longtime Democratic Party donor Leo J. Hindery Jr., according to a confidential draft report prepared by Senate Finance Committee staff.

A spokeswoman for Daschle confirmed last night that he recently paid back taxes in excess of $100,000. She said that Daschle, a former Senate majority leader, and his accountant discovered the error regarding the luxury car service and reported it to the committee after his vetting was completed.

Daschle paid the back taxes six days before his first Senate confirmation hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Finance Committee, however, has jurisdiction over his nomination.

Daschle, one of President Obama’s earliest and most steadfast campaign supporters, is the second Cabinet nominee to acknowledge tax errors. On Jan. 13, Timothy F. Geithner, who was chosen to run the Treasury Department, disclosed that he had not paid some taxes and subsequently paid $43,000 in taxes and penalties. He was sworn in on Jan. 26.

Because of an apparent clerical error by the equity firm, Daschle did not report more than $83,000 in consulting fees in 2007 and has not provided sufficient documentation relating to $15,000 in charitable contributions over three years, according to the panel’s report. He and his wife, Linda, gave $276,000 in charitable contributions during the three-year period being studied by the panel, according to a Daschle aide.

Daschle’s only saving grace may be the fact that, as a former Senator, he is likely to get some degree of deference from his former colleagues. Of course, Senatorial deference didn’t help John Tower back in 1989, and, given the size of his tax “error” it may not help Daschle this time.

James Joyner points out, correctly I think, the difference between Daschle’s situation and the controversy that surrounding Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner over his tax issues:

Unlike Timothy Geithner, who was confirmed as Treasury Secretary despite failure to pay self-employment taxes which he owed even though he wasn’t self-employed thanks to a quirk in the tax code, it’s going to be hard to argue that Daschle is “indispensable.” But, as a former Senator — and leader in the Senate — he’s got an inside track at a pass on this. The real question isn’t whether the failure to pay taxes here is forgivable but rather how well liked he was by former colleagues.

In the end, if Daschle is confirmed, it’s likely to be by a nearly-strict party line vote.

9 Responses to “Tom Daschle: Tax Cheat”

  1. How can they get away with this ? First Geithner now Daschle do Democrats think taxes are optional ? I’m amazed Obama keeps picking these people and they keep getting confirmed. Like Jim Cramer said, if it had been him that had not paid his taxes he would be doing prison time now. With government officials it seems to be a way to ensure promotion! Extraordinary.

  2. walter thomas says:

    I would guess that OMBAS change of the way things are done is just so much talk for political purposses. I guess
    the laws only apply to the common folk not the leaders off
    goverment. This is nuderstandable this is CLINTON’S people
    and or cabinet.

  3. Why do we little people worry so much about filing taxes on time??? Marion Barry was just in the news again recently for failing to file again, but prosecutors weren’t too keen on trying him again after they failed to jail him last time. Can the partisan Dems out there finally admit that both parties’ elites are as crooked as the other?

  4. Hard truth says:

    People need to take the blinders off and realize there is not order and reliable authority in the country. It makes people very uncomfortable to consider the doctor’s “white coat” is not trustworthy, or the judge’s “gavel” or the cop’s “blue suit.” The hard fact is elected officials, doctors, lawyers, cops, etc are corrupt and negligent. This is because there is no actual regulation of anything, just the appearance of regulation. It’s not just bankers that are corrupt and not regulated. The same dynamic applies across the board to lawyers, doctors, cops, etc.

    This reality is perpetuated by people’s ongoing blind belief that those in authority are trustworthy and are properly regulated. The world is unraveling and so the truth of what’s been going in is starting to be exposed. Unfortunately, there is much more than what we’ve seen – these people in the news are just the ones who have been caught. The likely reason Geithner was confirmed was the old boys’ club, but also the ugly reality that there probably isn’t anyone who isn’t corrupt and Geithner might be lower on the spectrum of corruption.

    The sooner those in authority are not blindly idolized by the public and are ACTUALLY regulated and held accountable the better.

  5. Rick Dlebos says:

    With all the democrates skipping out on paying taxes, maybe Al Capone shouldn’t have been jailed for his tax problems !! And really now, is there any differance in what he did and what the democrats are doing to us now ??

  6. I'm RIGHT says:

    The democratic party is out to destroy the middle class. They want two classes, the ones with power (them), and the lower class 100% dependent on their handouts.

    I want to sponsor a bill/law; If an elected official breaks the law during their elected term they forfeit all taxpayer sponsored retirement and benefits. I want every elected official to look us in the eye and tell us why they won’t sign it.

  7. Anna says:

    Obama is using his pulpit to condone tax cheaters.

  8. Georges Marciano who has been begging the IRS to audit him for over three years states that he owes IRS in the millions …..yes I said millions. I have emailed the IRS, we have sent letters. He has received a refund check from them and at the same time they sent him a letter stating he never filed? Georges has sent all the documents to the IRS, FBI, Los Angeles Sherriffs department, Beverly Hills police department and yet nothing….they have not even assigned anyone to the case…. on this site it shows the absolutely rediculous documents from the IRS . The question is why do they make such a big deal over Daschle and Geithner and their taxes and yet the Georges Marciano who actually wants to pay his taxes they are ignoring?

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