Daschle should withdraw.

428px-Tom_Daschle,_official_Senate_photo "Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said he is "deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns," in a letter dated Monday to the senior Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee that was provided to CNN.

"I apologize for the errors and profoundly regret that you have had to devote time to them," Daschle said in the letter to Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Daschle has been nominated by Obama to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

A committee memo obtained Friday by CNN indicates committee members want to discuss the use of a car and driver that Daschle didn't disclose on his income taxes, and nonpayment of taxes on more than $80,000 he earned in consulting fees after leaving the Senate.

Daschle emphasized to Baucus and Grassley in the letter that "My mistakes were unintentional.""


The only thing Tom Daschle is "disappointed" about is that he got caught cheating on his income taxes,  emphasis on the "got caught" part of that sentence.

Several of President Obama's nominees have now had tax or other financial problems.  It would seem that the difference between Republican and Democratic political types is that the Republicans steal/cheat on a grander scale.

And now we have the sorry spectacle of senators insisting on continuing to back Daschle's nomination from sheer "clubbiness."

Daschle should relieve the president of this embarrassment by withdrawing his name from consideration.  Failing that, President Obama should withdraw Daschle's name.  

If that does not happen, the whole "change we can believe in" business goes right out the window.  pl  

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51 Responses to Daschle should withdraw.

  1. jonst says:

    I second that Col! See Greenwald’s piece on him. Look for Matt Tabbi’s “cheeseburger” comment.

  2. Leanderthal says:

    I couldn’t agree more. You are so right. Daschle has embarrassed his president, and should have the grace and guts to admit it and withdraw. I felt the same way about the new treasury secretary. I’m a strong Obama supporter, but he needs to set the proper example here, and quickly.

  3. charlottemom says:

    Col. Lang,
    I can’t keep up with the rules on these no-tax-paying scandals. Some get ensnared and are dropped (Daschle?, Richardson); some are ensnared, but not dropped (Geithner); and some are sorta left alone but with big question marks (Hillary/Clinton foundation??).
    My cynical side says that most of the prominent gov players have tax problems in their pasts and yes, I thought this issue was that oncea convenient or, rather inconvenient disqualifier for office….except when it isn’t for the truly special….Geithner. HA!
    The average taxpayer that hates (or will come to hate) TARP and its forthcoming sequels, are watching… The rich and powerful have been exposed — they don’t play fair. Gov officials with Taxes unpaid, executives with bonuses from taxpayers, jets all around.
    “They’ll” try to make an example of Daschle perhaps to compensate for moral hazard created by Geithner, but I don’t buy it at all. Hypocrisy for all of congress that voted for Geithner and who will now turn and scold Daschle (they will and he’ll be symbolically punished)
    How about a tax audit for all of congress, in addition to incoming appointee nominations?! Boy, would these hypocrites howl!!!

  4. JohnH says:

    What happened to the days when the IRS would put tax evaders in jail?
    If these folks don’t have the decency to fall on their own swords, then we should bring back the pillory and expose them to public humiliation (and maybe a few volleys of tomatoes).
    Real quick, that would clear up the “inattention” that led to the “unintended” behavior.

  5. charlottemom says:

    In the news
    Obama stands by Daschle nomination….
    CA has no money to payout taxpayer rebates…IOus to be dispensed…
    Non taxpayers slated to received tax “rebates” in Maximus Stimulus proposal….
    More taxpayer money for financials…
    Message received: only fools pay their taxes.

  6. hope4usa says:

    Gosh this audience is harsh. He did not receive a 1099 from the employer and owner of the limo. Required under law. His cpa preparing the return had no idea because there was no tax document identifying the transaction. Very easy to screw up. These are unusual transactions—that we don’t have enough info on why they weren’t reported. Should that automatically end your public career? Is it an example of how screwed up/difficult the tax system is? I’m far more concerned about the corps that are holding their earnings offshore in tax havens to evade taxes–or the hedge fund owners who got a multi billion dollar break on their earnings. Let’s keep things in perspective.

  7. graywolf says:

    Jesus, what a f***ing surprise!!!
    Inside the beltway elites cheat on taxes….
    “Hope and change” from the demcong.

  8. J says:

    So much for Obama’s ‘change we can believe in’ stuff.
    Obama says ‘absolutely’ standing by Daschle

  9. feocito says:

    Pat, You’re right that at the center of our disgust/disappointment is the overblown promise of “change we can believe in”.
    Expectations for this administration were WAY too high from the get-go. Now it’s time for reality to settle in.
    What the president meant to say was “business as usual” now that the votes are cast.
    There is no doubt that Tom Daschle would make a good secretary, nor that Bill Lind would be a good DEPSECDEF, but the president PROMISED us, with a great deal of fanfare, that this administration would be different. So some of you are going to be disappointed, but all of us need to get over it.
    Don’t even get me started about the bi-partisan stimulus package!

  10. Patrick Lang says:

    you don’t think they should be punished when they are caught? pl

  11. graywolf says:

    I think that Daschle should receive the same treatment that I would receive for not reporting income: criminal prosecution.
    BUT, there is one set of rules for the “governing class” and another for the rest of us.
    BTW, it’s not a Republican or Democratic thing.
    It’s the “rulers” vs. the “peasants.”
    Look at how Geithner waltzed in.

  12. Barry says:

    What’s wierd is that I don’t recall any such scandals at the beginning of the Bush II administration, and they *had* to have far more abuses.

  13. J says:

    I propose that all former Congressmen have/are required to serve a 4 year hitch as a sewer cleaner after they leave their Congressional Office. Hopefully after their 4 year required stint as a sewer cleaner, they’ll be less inclined to give U.S. all their after-office horse-manure, like what Daschle is doing.
    Just a thought.

  14. Keith says:

    JohnH –
    For there to be criminal prosecution, they have to be able to prove intent to evade or defraud. It is not a strict liability issue. Without intent, they can only collect the missing amount plus penalties and interest.

  15. Sorry no mercy. If he vouchered for the income probably no 1099 required. Let’s have limit of one tax cheat per cabinet and that one can be Treasury Secretary. Always remember that “Change” and “Reform” are not synonymus.

  16. Cloned Poster says:

    Look at this guardian article today.
    Let them eat cake:
    And we are saving the banks?

  17. par4 says:

    I think we should hold the whole government to those high standards.I’d be surprised if there was a handful left in D.C. after the audits were finished.

  18. Cieran says:

    I agree completely.
    There should be no place in government for those who subscribe to the Leona Helmsley school of public administration.
    And as far as the “he didn’t know” argument is concerned, when you get to the point where you can’t remember that you’re getting many hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of renumerations, then you have no place in government for this day and age.
    Empathy for the common citizen needs to be requirement #1 for all civil servants.

  19. Jose says:

    Obama’s, “change we can believe in” as unfortunately become, “same circus, different clowns.”
    The man is unfit for office, as were several other appointments by the President.
    The IRS should treat him like any other American who tried to evade his taxes.
    hope4usa – Daschle was Majority Leader of the Senate and I am sure, well aware of what his was doing.

  20. Buzz Meeks says:

    Appointing Rahm Emmanuel to anything at all should have lowered everyone’s expectations of a higher standard in appointed government positions. Billary was the icing on that cake.
    Justice Dept investigations into Bush Evil Empire goons isn’t going to happen and RICO isn’t around when you need him. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. McCain would have been throwing the lobster into the pot of boiling water. Obomba has put the lobster in the pot and set the temp to simmer.. we will just go to sleep as the water warms.
    Buzz Meeks

  21. Nancy K says:

    I agree with home4usa, I’m not as concerned about those who didn’t pay 100% of their taxes as those who didn’t pay any taxes because they have off shore accounts. Also, Daschle won’t be facing criminal prosecution and neither would graywolf, he will have to pay the right amt of taxes and possibly a penalty. the sad reality is many hedge on their taxes and it just isn’t Democrats looking for a cabinet position, although it seems like it right now.

  22. Redhand says:

    Seeing how the guy made millions off this lobbying I find it hard not be be “harsh” when judging him. Plus, $128K is a helluva lot to owe in “back taxes.” It’s far more than the vast majority of Americans make in a year.
    What a jerk!

  23. Cujo359 says:

    What worries me about Daschle is his cozy relationship with the industries he’d be required to ride herd on if he were SecHHS.
    Unfortunately, as that link suggests, Daschle’s coziness with big healthcare, big pharma, and the insurance industry are part of a pattern. The next nominee will probably have a better accountant, but I doubt he’ll be any better suited to fixing our healthcare system.

  24. barrisj says:

    Daschle skirted the now loophole-filled Obama “no lobbyist” litmus test because he wasn’t “registered”, but was acting in an “advisory capacity” when giving speeches and advocating on behalf of the health-care industry, an industry he’s expected to “take on” as HSS Secretary. The income tax stuff is routine veniality, but hustling coin from those who mightily oppose MEANINGFUL health-care reform should have been an automatic disqualifier. I mean, what is the bloody point of Obama making a huge thing about “no lobbyists in MY administration, then issuing all these “waivers” that simply opens the door once again to special interest groups who have had the run of the town for decades? “Change we can believe in?? Bollocks.

  25. FredS says:

    Withdraw indeed. He’ll need that K street job to pay back the taxes he made on that other K street job. Embarrassed? Second to Bill Frist, that’s not embarrassing, that’s insulting.
    J, I think the other sewer cleaners would insist on someone who could carry his own weight; but at least you did not suggest he be a garbage man. I need mine, unlike doctors these guys come buy the house 52 times a year! Perhaps we should elect some of them to the Senate and House in 2010, they can then do what they do best.

  26. trstone says:

    It seems to me that all of America’s leaders (financial/government) are incompetent-at best, or crooks-at the worst.
    This is the best of America’s (pardon to David Halbestram) the best and the brightest!
    PS-I am a BO supporter!

  27. DGH, Seattle says:

    I have to agree, has it been so lang since hail to the chief?

  28. Cynthia says:

    I agree, Buzz Meeks. Alarm bells started going off in my head as soon as I heard that Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Some view this appointment as a relief in that Emanuel will be relieved from doing any more harm as a hawk on Capitol Hill. But to me, as long as Obama is a war president with the power to usurp Congress, Hawkman Emanuel may indeed do far more harm as the president’s right-hand man in the White House.

  29. optimax says:

    If you make the laws, you can change the laws to oblige your uncontested desires. All four-year-old rulers know that, and that is change we can bereave in.

  30. Halfnhalf says:

    I heard his public apology in which he said he thought the use of the car and driver was a “gift”. Since the IRS limits gifts (this year to $13,000), wasn’t the gifter rather than the giftee responsible for reporting and paying the tax?

  31. J says:

    I see Emanuel as a foreign governmental ‘gatekeeper’ who makes sure that a steel constructed Israeli bubble is created around our U.S. prez to ensure that only ‘Israeli approved’ enter and leaves the U.S. presidential bubble, a bad thing for the U.S..

  32. Nancy K says:

    I don’t particularly care for Dascle and it does seem he is in bed with the medical lobbyists, what a surprise a politician in bed with lobbyists. That said, I believe we need to give the president who he wants in his cabinet. He has only been on the job 2 weeks and already I read posters on this site who are bad mouthing Obama. Give me a break, while Bush was commander in thief our economy was decimated, how soon you forget. Give Obama a chance, he couldn’t be any worse than our last president and that is a given.

  33. lina says:

    I always thought it foolish and shortsighted for Obama (or any candidate for federal office) to rail on about lobbyists.
    Daschle’s relationships with the healthcare industry coupled with his good relationships with his former Senate colleagues are exactly what made him the perfect candidate for this job. Obama promised healthcare reform. That will require cooperation from (1) Congress and (2) the health services industry.
    People get nailed for tax violations every year. They pay the appropriate fine and get back to work. The IRS gets its money and the tax lawyer gets his.
    I don’t give a damn about Daschle. I’m very concerned about healthcare reform.

  34. charlottemom says:

    Do the rich and powerful pay their fair share in the US? Sorry but loads of recent evidence suggest NO – not just Geithner, Daschle, that Nancy woman who withdrew nomination, Dodd (advantageous mortgage arrangements ala Countrywide). There is so much hypocrisy and corruption and Obama is now being touched by it.
    Many political and business leaders are freeloaders – taxes skirted, bonuses gifted. We taxpayers are being pickpocketed left and right. Heck, congress just voted themselves a raise at a time when Americans are being laid off, salaries frozen. I think that’s as in-your-face as Daschle.
    It is the exception when a leader plays by the rules.
    Leona Helmsley said only the little people pay taxes…what twenty years ago?! It was true then and true now.

  35. Byron Raum says:

    It is a valid argument that our tax code needs to be simplified, but IMO that does not excuse Daschle. The complexity of the tax code just means that Daschle was able to hide his complicity. It just means that he’s the sort of person who would take advantage of the complexity of the law to break it.
    When his accountant filed for him, Daschle signed his 1040, which includes taking an oath. This is the text from the 1040: Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete. Declaration of preparer (other than taxpayer) is based on all information of which preparer has any knowledge. Every taxpayer, including you, me and Daschle sign it.
    With the Sarbes-Oxley law, we hold executives personally responsible for financial statements coming out of their companies. They can never disclaim responsibility because they “didn’t know.” They should have known, and are by law required to have known. The Sarbes-Oxley law cleared the Senate in 7/15/2002, when Daschle was still a Senator. He voted yea.
    Should we hold him responsible for his own tax returns in the same way he wanted executives held responsible for their companies’ tax returns? Do the same rules apply?

  36. barrisj says:

    Daschle pulls the plug this a.m.! Of course, the bulk of coverage focused upon his “tax issues”, and the lobby business gets virtually little attention, except from non-MSM sources. It’s a telling commentary upon DC culture that the “responsible media” and Congressional politicos bashed Daschle on IRS problems (he apparently didn’t have any “undocumented immigrants” working as household help, an equally fatal mistake), rather than the more egregious aspects of his post-Senate employment. Despite Obama’s protestations to the contrary, the “revolving door” is still in play, and those benefiting from that ethic will have no issues from former Hill colleagues when seeking government positions.

  37. lina says:

    the purists win:
    Daschle withdraws nomination
    19 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary.
    That’s according to a joint White House statement from President Barack Obama and his former nominee.
    Obama said Tuesday he accepted the withdrawal “with sadness and regret.”
    Daschle has been battling for his nomination since it was disclosed he failed to pay more than $120,000 in taxes.
    He said he’s withdrawing because he’s not a leader who has the full faith of Congress and will be a distraction.
    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Daschle’s former Democratic colleagues were rallying to his defense after he met behind closed doors with the Senate Finance Committee to discuss problems with back taxes and potential conflicts of interest, but lawmakers promised he will face more questions.
    Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, is President Barack Obama’s nominee to oversee the Health and Human Services Department.
    Republican members of the committee avoided reporters after the committee meeting Monday, but an aide to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the senator still has a lot of questions he will explore at Daschle’s confirmation hearing Feb. 10.
    Those questions will focus on tax issues, such as the $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest that he paid last month, said the aide. Daschle will also be questioned about the potential conflicts of interests he would face because he accepted speaking fees from health care interests, said the aide, who asked not to be identified because the aide was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
    Daschle also provided advice to health insurers and hospitals through his work at a law firm.
    Daschle began the day apologizing for his failure to fully pay his taxes from 2005 through 2007. He capped it off that way as well after meeting with the committee behind closed doors.
    “It was completely inadvertent, but that’s no excuse,” he said. “I apologize to President Obama, to my colleagues and to the American people.”
    Obama said he was “absolutely” sticking with his choice for health secretary.
    The White House both underscored the magnitude of the problem and tried to downplay it in the space of seven words. “Nobody’s perfect,” said press secretary Robert Gibbs. “It was a serious mistake.”
    Nobody was predicting defeat for Daschle’s nomination, but it was proving an unsavory pill to swallow for senators who only last week confirmed Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary despite his own tax-payment problems. It’s an issue that strikes a nerve among lawmakers’ constituents, who are struggling with their own serious money problems.
    Daschle did get warm words of support from numerous Democratic senators. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., gave him an especially important endorsement, since the two men have had tussles in the past over Baucus’ handling of GOP tax-cut proposals, Medicare changes and other issues.
    “His tax mistakes are regrettable,” Baucus said. “But his tax mistakes do not change his qualifications to lead on health care reform. They do not change my support for his nomination.”
    Some senators laid the blame for Daschle’s tax woes on his employers rather than on Daschle. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the friend that provided him with a chauffeur service for three years, Leo Hindery Jr., should have given Daschle a tax form that would make clear the service was to be treated as income.
    In a letter released Monday, Daschle sought to explain how he overlooked taxes on income for consulting work and the use of the car service. He also deducted more in charitable contributions than he should have.
    Gibbs noted Daschle’s long tenure as a senator from South Dakota and said it would be up to the Senate to weigh a “serious but corrected mistake against that three-decade career in public service.”
    “We still think he’s the best person to do health care reform and shepherd a very complicated process through Congress to achieve savings and cut costs for the American people,” Gibbs said. The White House also had suggested Geithner was indispensable for the national economic revival in arguing for his confirmation despite tax problems.
    Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, noted the Geithner nomination in saying she suspected tax problems would not prevent Daschle from becoming the next health secretary.
    “If the guy who is overseeing the IRS can get away with a tax problem, how are you going to hold up the health and human services secretary over taxes?” she asked.
    Associated Press, 2/3/09

  38. J says:

    Colonel, All,
    Daschle just announced he’s withdrawing from the Obama Cabinet bid.

  39. batondor says:

    Well, Daschle has withdrawn. I must admit that I was not as harsh in my interpretation of this situation as many here have been because I do not subscribe to the notion that anyone in government is a crook… but I do agree with all of you that it’s hard to fathom a mixture of mistakes in such a short time… and I certainly agree with my spouse who was more troubled by the combination of the immediate distraction and the lobbying mindset that Daschle embraced as soon as he left the Senate (and that his spouse apparently was deeply involved in for years, as well…).
    Personally, I have a bigger, more generic problem: it’s the notion of the Indispensable Person. I’d be curious to hear what Pat Lang or others have to say about the origination and execution of policy, both foreign or domestic: are the “special” (as in “unique”) individuals who get things done that would not otherwise pass muster… or does it take good ideas and the right circumstances to cultivate success in difficult situations and the “best” leaders are those that can see those conditions as they become apparent?

  40. Cieran says:

    Nancy K:
    Give Obama a chance, he couldn’t be any worse than our last president and that is a given.
    I agree, but your words could just as easily be read as “damning with faint praise”.
    I’d prefer to see our political leaders earning a lot more than faint praise. As citizens of this great nation, is that really too much for us to expect?

  41. mike says:

    Your blog may have more influence than you realize Colonel.
    Now – let’s clean house by getting Geithner and Powers to resign.

  42. arbogast says:

    Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker is right about this as he is about so many other things.
    Why should the American Taxpayer, who is being asked to bail out Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson, Jimmy Cayne, Richard Fuld, etc. etc. etc. etc. pay his taxes when our nation’s leaders don’t pay theirs?

  43. Mark Logan says:

    I’m glad he withdrew. It was causing a problem and
    he is simply not indispensable
    for healthcare reform.
    I’m of the opinion that his “error” was actually somewhat more forgivable
    than Geitners. He should
    have gotten that 1099 and
    he shouldn’t have had to ask
    for it. There is another issue that I suspect needed
    to be firewalled: That was
    “the 1099 from hell”. One
    ridiculously expensive limo. That rock, and whatever’s under it, I
    think is Tom’s responibility to see turned over as far from the Obama administration as possible.

  44. Nancy K says:

    Cieran, I didn’t actually mean it as faint praise, as I feel very positive about President Obama. I just feel that our last administration was so corrupt that Obama is now being painted with the same brush. I feel he should be given a chance. He has only been in office a few weeks. And yes I feel we should expect more from our leaders, however politicians on both sides of the aisle have been so very dissapointing that it is difficult to imagaine what more is.

  45. Bobo says:

    Congratulations to all Daschle has dropped out and Obama has recognized his political mistake.
    Now how about some efforts to take the non-stimulus junk out of the stimulus bill so we all can be proud of this bill that is suppose to help us. I know Ms. Pelosi’s condom project has come out already but there is plenty more in there like it.
    Leave the pet projects to the normal budgetary process so we can get this country moving again..

  46. DGH, Seattle says:

    Col. Lang,
    The Chief has asserted himself again today and striding into the conversation has taken charge.
    Standing (or sitting) before those ‘who make opinion’ he gave forth as no POTUS in my memory has ever done and once again took charge of the American conversation.
    I have resumed my briefly abandoned position of “Hail to the Chief!”

  47. Cieran says:

    Nancy K:
    Cieran, I didn’t actually mean it as faint praise, as I feel very positive about President Obama.
    Sorry for any confusion — I feel the same way as you do here.
    I was merely trying to point out that a quality bar set at “better than George W” isn’t exactly what we need in this day and age. I’d almost suggest the notion that we deserve “the best and the brightest”, but that metric has already been used (or perhaps misused?)

  48. Arun says:

    Well, he withdrew, and Obama admitted he screwed up. I’m sure in the 2012 debates, if Obama runs for relection, he’ll have a whole list of mistakes to recite.
    Geithner’s tax mistake is, to me, understandable; Daschle’s is not.
    In any case, instead of constant drumbeat of the tax cut battle, why not instead focus on simplifying the tax code (even if we end up paying about the same)?

  49. Doug Farris says:

    Actually why should any of us pay the tyrants any of our money?
    Time for another tea party!

  50. Nancy K says:

    I may be old fashion but I am not opposed to paying taxes. I think our country is worth it. I just feel that all of us should be paying taxes according to how much we make, whether that income comes from a job or from capital gains. A middle class worker should not have to pay a higher percentage than a CEO whose 5 million dollar bonus is taxed as capital gains or sometimes even deferred for years. Big business should not avoid paying taxes because they have an off shore address for their company.

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