Daschle's tax problems larger than first reported

Washington Post:

Thomas A. Daschle, nominated to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, did not pay more than $128,000 in taxes over three years, a revelation that poses a potential obstacle to his Senate confirmation.

The back taxes, along with $12,000 in interest and penalties, involved unreported consulting fees, questionable charitable contributions, and a car and driver provided by a private equity firm run by entrepreneur and longtime Democratic Party donor Leo J. Hindery Jr., according to a confidential draft report prepared by Senate Finance Committee staff.

A spokeswoman for Daschle confirmed last night that he recently paid back taxes in excess of $100,000. She said that Daschle, a former Senate majority leader, and his accountant discovered the error regarding the luxury car service and reported it to the committee after his vetting was completed.

Daschle paid the back taxes six days before his first Senate confirmation hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Finance Committee, however, has jurisdiction over his nomination.

Daschle, one of President Obama's earliest and most steadfast campaign supporters, is the second Cabinet nominee to acknowledge tax errors. On Jan. 13, Timothy F. Geithner, who was chosen to run the Treasury Department, disclosed that he had not paid some taxes and subsequently paid $43,000 in taxes and penalties. He was sworn in on Jan. 26.

Because of an apparent clerical error by the equity firm, Daschle did not report more than $83,000 in consulting fees in 2007 and has not provided sufficient documentation relating to $15,000 in charitable contributions over three years, according to the panel's report. He and his wife, Linda, gave $276,000 in charitable contributions during the three-year period being studied by the panel, according to a Daschle aide.

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I don't know about most of you, but I think I would have noticed $83,000 in consulting fees regardless of any error in the reporting by the payer. Is Daschle suggesting that it was not a material amount to him? I think that non reporting is even less defensible than the use of the car and driver or even Geithner's payroll taxes.

I think we now know why Daschle was given two jobs in the Obama administration, one of which is the White House where he does not need confirmation by the Senate. He is still going to be an embarrassment to Obama. The new President has gone from a cabinet of rivals to a cabinet of tax cheats.

I think it is going to be even harder for the Senate to give Daschle a pass because it will look like they are giving favoritism to one of their alums. He would become a legacy pick.

Politico also reports that Daschle also receive around $220,000 from health related entities that would be effected by the Democrat rationed health care plan.

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