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Another Obama official bites dust with tax problems

February 3, 2009 |  8:01 am

Nancy Killefer speaking after President-elect Obama nominated her as his first watchdog over wasteful government spending

Nancy Killefer, named by President Obama as his chief performance expert at the Office of Management and Budget, has withdrawn her nomination on account of -- among other things -- tax problems!

The 55-year-old executive tapped to serve as the watchdog on wasteful government spending had a $900 tax lien on her home in 2005 for failing to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help, according to the Associated Press. Killefer works for the consulting giant McKinsey & Co. (See video down below.)

She is the third Obama official to run into tax troubles.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services is at a tipping point over his failure to pay $146,000 in back taxes, some of it on a limousine and driver he used in his  personal life. And Treasury Secrertary Timothy Geithner was confirmed after confessing that he, now the nominal head of the Internal Revenue Service, had failed to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while an employee at the International Monetary Fund.

After calling for a "new era of responsibility" in his inaugural speech, Obama is coming under increased fire for seemingly applying a double standard. The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos noted this morning that the president seems to have rigorous rules for Wall Street fat cats but looser ones for his top advisors.

And some are starting to question the vetting process or decision-making abilities of the once-vaunted Obama machine. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee hearing Daschle's explanations, told CNN:

What bothers me is a president who wanted to get his administration off and running even before he’s sworn in. What’s wrong with the vetting process? It shows a little bit of shortcoming for someone who otherwise is a genius, you know, about management capability.

Her letter of resignation is posted below.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Getty Images

February 3, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I recognize that your agenda and the duties facing your Chief Performance Officer are urgent. I have also come to realize in the current environment that my personal tax issue of D.C. Unemployment tax could be used to create exactly the kind of distraction and delay those duties must avoid. Because of this I must reluctantly ask you to withdraw my name from consideration.

I am deeply honored to have been selected by you and you have my deep appreciation for your confidence in me. You have my heartfelt support and best wishes for success in all your endeavors.

Respectfully yours,

Nancy Killefer

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