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Now, it's Tom Daschle who forgot to pay taxes--$128,000 worth

Former South Dakota Democrat Senator Tom Daschle revealed to have not paid $128,000 in back taxes before his nomination by president-elect Obama to be secretary of Health and Human Services and reform the nation's health care system

More simple, inadvertent, overlooked, accidental, good-faith tax mistakes in the would-be Obama Cabinet.

This time it's Tom Daschle, the former South Dakota senator and Senate Democratic leader who got knocked off by the Republicans in 2004, shown here demonstrating the size of his tax mistakes over three years.

President Obama had wanted Daschle to be secretary of Health and Human Services and also honcho the administration's signature healthcare reform out of the White House.

But it turns out Daschle failed to pay $128,000 in taxes over three years in private life when he was getting paid $1 million a year to offer advice to rich people. Good thing Daschle wasn't nominated to be secretary of the Treasury.

Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for the top Treasury officer to also make simple, inadvertent, overlooked, accidental, good-faith, ultimately corrected tax mistakes?

Oh, wait that did happen. Timothy Geithner missed paying $43,000 in taxes and didn't repay some until the Obama transition team insisted. But because it was so accidental and he's so good with money and numbers, Geithner got confirmed anyway by his party's Senate. So now he's lecturing bonused bankers about their outrageous greed.

What do you suppose will happen to Daschle over the revelation, initially by ABC News, that he didn't pay nearly three times that much money in taxes? His confirmation hearing is yet to be scheduled, but committee records indicate he filed amended returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 just 29 days ago and has so far paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest.

The White House issued a statement late Friday night saying, "The president has confidence" that  Daschle's the right guy for healthcare reform. Which isn't the question actually.

Daschle was way too busy to speak Friday, so he sent out his poor spokeswoman, Jenny Backus. She said: "Sen. Daschle is embarrassed and disappointed by these errors."

Well, as long as he's embarrassed, it's probably OK for Daschle to join the administration of the ex-senator from Illinois who's going to be transparent, not allow a single lobbyist anywhere near power and change the way things are done in Springfield.

No, uh, make that Washington.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

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What a joke this BHO is turning out to be. Before its over we will be wishing we had elected BHO's friend the ex-governor Blago of Illinois as president. Or have at least gave him a cabinet position. The government run by gangesters.

Cool, the gloves are off. Now can we investigate the W. Bush/Cheney administration top to bottom? Or will Cheney go and mysteriously die after convicted like Ken Lay of Enron, depriving those wronged of their due? Is this more of the vaunted "Liberal Media" at work here?

Hey Malcolm,

Since you sound like a typical Republican Conservative, whats your problem. With so much whining for for more tax cuts, I thought the Conservatives didn't believe in taxes to begin with.

"But because it was so accidental and he's so good with money and numbers, Geithner got confirmed anyway by his party's Senate."

One contention with this sentence. Geithner is not a tax accountant, he's a banker. He does finance.

Saying he's "good with money and numbers" and thus he is somehow supposed to be a tax expert is like saying that a football quarterback should be able to play basketball because he's "good at sports and throwing balls".

I studied accounting, including tax accounting. I could probably fill out your tax return for you, but I couldn't do finance to save my life. They are entirely separate fields of expertise.

Three years ago the IRS hounded me incessantly because I owed a grand total of $437.14, and this was for the current year when the taxes were due. Yet, here we are with another person up for an appointment owing thousands over a period of several years (and let's not kid ourselves thinking they are the only ones).

I believe that regardless of how smart you are, if you've knowingly broken the law for anything other than a parking ticket, that automatically takes you out of the running. The rest of us are forced to forgo things we want when we've failed to take care of our responsibilities. That's the consequence. The price you pay.

Geithner going through is enough. No more.

I hope my Senators here in California do the right thing and tell this Tax Cheat to forget getting a job in the Federal Government.

Not only does he cheat on his taxes, but he wants to take over the the health care system, which will mean rationing services, higher prices, and longer waits. Its bad enough the Democrats in the form of Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd , San Fran Nan, and Harry Reid where the largest contributors in this recession/depression in their quest to bring down Bush.

But back to reality. The president (lower case on purpose) does not care if he is a tax cheat or how taking over the heathcare will be an anchor on the economy. The Senators do not care that he is a Cheat, nor do they care about the effects Daschles and the presidents plans will have on the economy. They only care about POWER

Tom Daschel-another fine choice by Barack Obama. I wonder if the two dimbulbs Nancy Pelosi and the ever popular Harry Reid helped with this one. Barack is in over his head and the American public will, once again, be embarrassed by his ineptness. Talk about lack of leadership. He talks a good game. Nice speeches, but where is the substance?

Good grief. Now Nancy Killefer, who Obama nominated as chief performance officer to scrub the federal budget and bring "a new sense of responsibility to Washington" has withdrawn for "unspecified tax issues." Unspecified? Meaning she didn't pay what she owed, right?

Is there no end to this?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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