Posted: Sun, 01 Feb 2009
As reported by the NY Times, During almost two years on the campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to slay the demons of Washington, bar lobbyists from his administration and usher in what he would later call in his Inaugural Address a “new era of responsibility.” What he did not talk much about were the asterisks.
The exceptions that went unmentioned now include a pair of cabinet nominees who did not pay all of their taxes. Then there is the lobbyist for a military contractor who is now slated to become the No. 2 official in the Pentagon. And there are the others brought into government from the influence industry even if not formally registered as lobbyists.
President Obama said Monday that he was “absolutely” standing behind former Senator Tom Daschle, his nominee for health and human services secretary, and Mr. Daschle, who met late in the day with leading senators in an effort to keep his confirmation on track, said he had “no excuse” and wanted to “deeply apologize” for his failure to pay $128,000 in federal taxes. More HEREAs reported by The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune the news that former Sen. Tom Daschle (S.D.), President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Health and Human Service Department had not paid more than $128,000 in back taxes over the past several years threatened to further slow the momentum built by the president during the transition process. The new Republican leader is also having none of this. As reported in USA Today, Michael Steele said in a telephone interview that Republicans should oppose former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle's nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle is the second Cabinet nominee to acknowledge he didn't pay thousands of dollars in taxes.
"We've already let one cat out of the bag with (Treasury Secretary Timothy) Geithner," Steele said. "So what's the standard down to, to be a Cabinet secretary? You don't have to pay your taxes? Come on." More HERE
AAPP: OK, I'm a former Democrat, and Republican, but I'm now Independent. I have to say, enough is enough. Now we learn his chief of staff is a lobbyist. Steele just may be on point when he says, Steele said. "So what's the standard down to, to be a Cabinet secretary?
AAPP: I guess I agree with John Brummett, who wrties: "There is nothing new, nothing that changes Washington, nothing in the vein of “yes, we can,” in nominating for secretary of health and human services a former veteran senator whose wife is a big-time Washington lobbyist for the airline industry (which she once regulated as acting FAA administrator), then standing by him when it comes out that he didn’t pay taxes on income from a car and driver provided him by a big corporation, and didn’t tell you about the problem, of which he became aware last summer, until after you’d nominated him.
We need public officials who pay their taxes, in full, on time, even without being nominated for cabinet jobs. Holding our noses for a treasury secretary who came up short on his income taxes was enough to ask. Plenty." More HERE
As The Washington Post reports, Daschle, who paid more than $100,000 in back taxes to the IRS in recent days according to a spokeswoman, is set to meet in a closed door session on Monday with the full Senate Finance Committee to explain the oversight.
Daschle is the third Obama Cabinet pick to run into trouble. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Obama's initial choice as Commerce Secretary, stepped aside due to an ongoing federal investigation into pay for play allegations in the Land of Enchantment. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner acknowledged he had failed to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years, describing the failure as an accounting oversight; he was confirmed by a vote of 60-34 earlier in the week.