Monday, February 2, 2009

Tom Daschle's Tax "Errors"

President Barack Obama's choice for Health and Human Services Secretary, former Senate Minority and Majority Leader, Tom Daschle, (D) South Dakota, claimed in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, (D) Montana and, committee ranking Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, that he was deeply embarrassed about $128,000 in tax errors and said he would answer all questions about how it happened.

Politicians have mastered the art of announcing bad news to the press late on a Friday, hoping the story will be forgotten by Monday. Daschle, who lost his senate seat to Republican John Thune in 2004, attempted to take the spotlight off his tax problems by telling the press late Friday night that on January 2nd, of this year, he paid the IRS over $140,000 in back taxes and interest in unreported income he received from consulting fees and the use of a car and driver provided by wealthy Democratic donor Leo Hindery Jr, a founder of the private-equity firm, InterMedia Advisors.

If confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Daschle will be in charge of health care policy for the federal government.

Since leaving the Senate, Daschle has made millions of dollars consulting for clients with business before the federal government but was never registered as a lobbyist.

The Health Industry Distributors Association paid Daschle $14,000 to make a speech last year at their conference, they also successfully lobbied Congress to end Medicare's competitive bidding program for health care supplies.

According to the Washington Times, many U.S. Senators have expressed concern over Dascle's tax problems and Senator Jon Kyl, (R) of Arizona said, "You have to be troubled by it."

Let's hope that President Obama is troubled by it enough to change his choice for Health and Human Services Secretary or that the U.S. Senate doesn't make an error by confirming Tom Daschle.

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