Paul L. Caron

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Daschle Tax Roundup

Senator Dashcle's Feb. 1, 2009 Letter to Senate Finance Committee:

Thank you for the work you and the Committee are doing to move forward on my nomination by President Obama to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. I know that despite the heavy workload from both the Economic Recovery Act and SCHIP, as well as all the nominees the Committee is handling, your staff has worked diligently on my nomination. I also appreciate the strong commitment to fairness you both have expressed.

As you can well imagine, I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns. I apologize for the errors and profoundly regret that you have had to devote time to them. I will be happy to answer any Committee members’ questions about these issues

ABC News, Bloomberg, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

Angry Bear:  Things to Do About Taxes When You're President:

Let's call it like it is: neither Geithner nor Daschle would have ever "realized" that they owed taxes if they hadn't been nominated to "serve" in Obama's cabinet. And of course, Obama doesn't care that they are, ahem, forgetful, cough cough, or they'd already have been booted. But the fact that this kind of thing seems to come up so often should at least be a tip-off to anyone who might care that tax evasion is a big industry.

Cato@Liberty (via InstaPundit):  Only the Little People Pay Taxes, by David Boaz:

Tom Daschle has joined Timothy Geithner in the not-so-exclusive club of Obama Cabinet appointees who evaded tens of thousands of dollars in federal taxes until they were vetted for their Cabinet nominations. It’s too bad Leona Helmsley can’t be nominated as Commerce Secretary.

National Review (via InstaPundit):  The Corner:

“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

New York Times: In Daschle's Tax Woes, a Peek Into Washington, by David D. Kirkpatrick:

Beyond the ramifications for Mr. Daschle’s ascent to the cabinet, the disclosures about Mr. Hindery and the many clients Mr. Daschle advised on public policy offers a new window into how Washington works. It shows how in just four years an influential former senator was able to make $5 million and live a lavish lifestyle by dint of his name, connections and knowledge of the town’s inner workings.

Politico (via InstaPundit):  Daschle Takes "A Bad First-Day Hit",  by Jonathan Martin & John Bresnahan:

If a Bush appointee got rich off of Wall Street in this climate, had a chauffeur from one of his fat cat cronies, had unpaid taxes that amounted to more than what most people make in a year, and then the administration tried to fix it behind closed doors. Democrats would call for his head and would demand ‘accountability.

Wall Street Journal editorial:  Driving Mr. Daschle: Tax Avoidance and Democratic Party Standards:

So Tom Daschle, the erstwhile prairie populist and scourge of multiple Presidential nominees, failed to disclose and pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars of income. He also waited months to pay up and told the Obama transition team about his tax oversights only days before his Senate confirmation hearing to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.

This one is going to be fascinating to watch, less for what it says about Mr. Daschle than what it will reveal about Democratic standards. Every Republican in America knows that if Mr. Daschle were a Reagan or Bush nominee he'd now be headed back to private life faster than you can say John Tower. That's the way Democrats have treated GOP nominees who were accused of far lesser transgressions than Mr. Daschle's tax, er, avoidance. The question is whether Democrats are going to treat Mr. Daschle according to the standard that Mr. Daschle set when he was running the Senate. ...

As a legal tax matter, this isn't even a close call. Mr. Daschle says he used the car service about 80% for personal use, and 20% for business. But his spokeswoman says it only dawned on the Senator last June that this might be taxable income. Mr. Daschle's excuse? According to a Journal report Friday, "he told committee staff he had grown used to having a car and driver as majority leader and did not think to report the perk on his taxes, according to staff members." How's that for a Leona Helmsley moment: Doesn't everyone have a car and chauffeur, dear?

Wall Street Journal, Marion Barry for Drug Czar; Democrats Love Taxes. Paying Them, Not So Much, by James Taranto:

If a certain sort of conservative tends to be moralistic about sex, liberals tend to be moralistic about money. That makes Tom Daschle the equivalent of a televangelist caught in a sex scandal.

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As a Democrat
my responsibility
ends as I say this:

"I made a mistake;
I didn't realize that
I had to pay tax.

"To show that I feel
genuine remorse and guilt,
I'll fire my driver.

"Let us now move on,
and let us never forget:
It's all Bush's fault!"

Posted by: Darrell | Feb 3, 2009 12:24:55 PM

Obama's transition and "vetting" team should work for the IRS. They've managed to identify a whole bunch of tax cheats, and all Democrats. But I repeat myself.

Posted by: chessie | Feb 3, 2009 10:57:54 AM

Daschle, Geithner, Rangel - they are all alike - Washington Aristocracy which believes itself above us common folk. I think these "lapses" in payment of normal taxes shows that Obama is after all, nothing but a low life Chicago pol who was raised in the school of "anything goes as long as you don't get caught".


Posted by: James Wells | Feb 3, 2009 6:46:05 AM

Mindless repetition, I admit, but;
Is this the change we can believe in?
And, why do we tolerate behavior such as this?

Posted by: Drew Kelley | Feb 2, 2009 1:24:11 PM

we need to figure out what we can make that the rest of the world would want to buy. our economy is bad i feel as if i am on Tax Payer Life Support

Posted by: All Mi T | Feb 2, 2009 11:41:25 AM

At least Richardson had the personal integrity to remove himself from consideration for his nomination. The other two are low-life.

Posted by: JimWYO | Feb 2, 2009 11:41:19 AM

Great roundup of articles!

I still wonder what the Senator did to warrant Leo Hindery giving him a million dollar a year paycheck for three years/plus car and driver. What does the job of Chairman of the Advisory Committee for InterMedia do? Were there any other committee members? If there are any, who are they?

Why don't any of these folks have to pay a penalty? I guess Leona was right.

Posted by: Corky Boyd | Feb 2, 2009 11:38:09 AM

Does anyone know how being a "consultant" for a media group and being driven around and paid by the former CEO of the one of the biggest corporate bankruptcies in history (global crossing), how does this "give him unique qualifications for this job"? How does taking millions from a guy who cheated employees, investors and retirees make you the best for the job?

Posted by: Karen | Feb 2, 2009 11:30:59 AM

I don't think this is much of an issue. I don't think anyone cares.

I mean, if you're a democrat, I bet you could drive your car off a bridge and leave a girl to drown, and no one would care.

Posted by: G. Pyle | Feb 2, 2009 11:22:26 AM

Could we get that "car and driver" thing added to the economic "stimulus" for all Americans ? .. but who will do the driving ? .. illegals I guess.

Posted by: Neo | Feb 2, 2009 11:14:01 AM

Pundits are always eager to attack individuals but are very reluctant to hold institutions accountable. How about a little ink on the failure of Congress to excercise oversight of IRS?

Posted by: WD Kebschull | Feb 2, 2009 11:09:39 AM