January 31st, 2009
05:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Democrats line up to support Daschle

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Four prominent Democratic Senators spoke out Saturday in support of former Sen. Tom Daschle, whose tax records have come under scrutiny as he pursues a Cabinet position in the administration of President Barack Obama.

Obama nominated the 61-year-old South Dakotan to be secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Senate Finance committee - which will vote on the nomination before the full Senate votes on whether to confirm him - is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the nomination.

A committee memo obtained Friday by CNN indicates committee members want to discuss the use of a car and driver that Daschle didn't disclose on his income taxes, and nonpayment of taxes on more than $80,000 he earned in consulting fees after leaving the Senate.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, the senior member of the finance committee, released a statement Saturday saying, "Months ago, Tom personally and proactively addressed the taxes issue and took all necessary steps to correct his innocent error."

Kerry's statement did not elaborate on Daschle's actions, but the memo obtained by CNN said Daschle has paid about $150,000 in back taxes and interest to address the problems.

Kerry praised Daschle's experience as a former member of both the House and the Senate, saying "his knowledge of the legislative process is unmatched" and he predicted that if confirmed Daschle "will do a superb job in helping us fix our healthcare system."

Another committee member, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said Saturday that Daschle had "identified and self-disclosed his oversight."

Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts also released statements supporting Daschle.

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican member of the finance committee, said Friday that Daschle's confirmation process "established certain tax violations, for which the nominee has amended or is amending (tax) returns."

A source close to Daschle said Daschle had not reported the use of the car and driver because he considered it to be a personal favor from a partner in a company Daschle was doing consulting work for after leaving the Senate.

Daschle's nonpayment of taxes on the consulting work happened when he received an incorrect tax form from the company, the source said, and the company didn't recognize its error until Daschle's accountant contacted company officials in December 2008.

Filed under: Tom Daschle
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    Suddenly Congress has remembered its oversight duties. While it is refreshing for them to investigate these issues and take their duties seriously, one must wonder where it has been for the past 8 years?

    January 31, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. neil

    Seems simple, earn money pay tax. By the way how come nobody offered me a "free driver and car"???

    January 31, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. shannon

    how sad that we can only find crooks to be in our government, and that other members of this administration support these cheats. I guess this is the change we were promised.

    January 31, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Mike - Houston

    Come on dems, ethics don't matter to you.

    January 31, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Simmy

    Finance Committee,

    Sweep around your own front door!

    January 31, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Rob

    It's funny how the party of "Raise More Taxes" sonsistently seem to fail to pay their own...

    January 31, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. lady in the know

    I sure am glad that Bush didn't nominate this guy. His name would hardly be out of Bush's mouth and the nomination would be shot down. Talk about a double standard. I am just sick to death that the two party system in this country has died thanks to Obama and the Democrats being in control. We who voted for our Republican representatives are not being represented as the controlling party is on a power trip and they have no regard for the dangerous path they are taking us down. It is apparent that something is wrong as there were some Democrats that realize that someone needs to apply the brakes before we fall completely off the cliff and didn't vote for the stimulus package.

    January 31, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Good lord ! they are just full of it..ha ha. Its either he is "confident" or its a "innocent mistake". So what is it that the people do not know that these Senators know? Are they all guilty that it makes them so bold to overlook innocent mistakes. The three C's used to measure consumer's credit is not going to work thats for sure under the Obama adminstration and democrat dominated congress. So forget about the CEOs on wall street. Besides while the good intended senator calls for some restraint on CEO salary, American banks are ranked behind Australia . This is just so funny.

    January 31, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. catmom

    So do Republicans think that Obama will now pick all Republicans to finish out his cabinet. I mean since all Democrats are tainted in some way or another.

    January 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. Neal

    I don't like Daschle for this post, he's a bit too connected. But then I want national healthcare, with single provider (the Government) coverage.
    None of these half-aced semi-public/private BS. Just flat out public health care.
    The end.

    January 31, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Narnia

    As a staunch democrat and retired health and business professional I am angry at Obama for picking Mr. Daschle. And it reeks of the "old boy network" for the democratic senators to put out these ridiculous statements. First of all, Tom Daschle has made money lobbying the health care and insurance industry. These companies already have their foot in the door to influence whatever health care strategies to their advantage through Daschle. That gives me pause as their interests and influence are not necessarily good for us citizens when it comes to getting universal health care. Second, Mr. Daschle is an attorney. He should have known better. Regardless of whether it was innocent or not, this is going to taint President Obama and for the sake of protecting the president, Daschle should withdraw with the grace of Governor Bill Richardson. Surely President Obama can find another professional who does not have the taint of the tax issue and the previous lobbying jobs! he should go.

    January 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. There is no excuse

    Hiccups, innocent mistakes, simple oversights, no big deal etc, etc.

    Get ready for four years of "explanations" and "sleights of hand" and phony news briefings where the "chosen one" tells us snow is cold and the sky is up and everyone applauds like the sheep that they are at his eternal "greatness"


    January 31, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Lon

    Is our government nothing but a pool of crooks? In office to line their own pockets at the expense of the american people? I have been under the impression that Tom Daschle was an upstanding honest individual. He along with all the rest is a big big disappointment to me.

    January 31, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. Obama 2.0

    All these Democrats have problems paying taxes, they should just join forces with Joe the Plumber and the Republicans and cut taxes the easy way...Just don't pay. Let all of th regular people/suckers break their necks getting to the tax deadlines. Because we just go to jail, they go to t.v., big jobs and congress. what a joke. Americans are sick and tired of these lying clowns.

    January 31, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. karela

    I appreciate the details of the tax issues here. Most headlines just scream about unpaid taxes. They don't mention that the car and driver came along with a job he was doing for the company and that the underpaid income tax was a result of an incorrect statement of earnings from the company he worked for that wasn't discovered until he went through the vetting process. The world is full of innocent mistakes by good people. The country would be without the help of the best person available for the health care battle if Daschle were not confirmed-–and the republicans know it. There was nothing sneaky about this stuff. This was straight out innocent mistake. Confirm him so we can get on with the work of the country!

    January 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. person

    look, let's find out all the info and if it is proven to be shady then yeah, Daschle has to go.

    January 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Jeff

    I've always had a certain level of respect for Tom Daschle. But he cannot allow his tax issues to tarnish Obama's cabinet. He must withdraw himself from the process, before he becomes more of a distraction. The administration has too many distractions as it is. Bill Richardson proved he was a man of integrity when he withdrew from his own nomination process when the first allegations of impropriety surfaced. Tom Daschle must now demonstrate the same level of integrity.

    The Democrats are running perilously close to demonstrating the same level of hypocrisy that the Republicans did for 8 years. So much for change coming to Washington.

    The fact of the matter is that the average US citizen is often held to higher standards than those in elected office. Geithner should never have been confirmed. Clinton should never have been confirmed (for her blatant demonstration of a lack of personal integrity when she constantly lied during the campaign). Daschle should not be confirmed. No average US citizen would stand a chance of getting a job–even the most qualified–if he or she demonstrated similar behavior. It is inconceivable to most people that the Democrats would step forward and defend actions that are indefensible. Shouldn't public figures be obsessively careful about dealing with things like taxes??? For Daschle to come out now and plead ignorance is very convenient, and unacceptable.

    Democrats MUST be beyond reproach, now more than ever.

    January 31, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. jeff

    1st Timothy Geithner who NOW is head of the the internal revenue service didn't pay 34 thousand dollars in taxes until he found out he would be nominated
    2nd now Tom Dachele nominated for Health and Human Services didn't declare 80 grand
    3rd Didn't Rengal not declare tax on a property out of the cointry.
    CHANGE we can belive in.
    Mr Obama is not responsible for the 2 guys he wants in his cabinet not paying their taxes but it does go to his judgment.
    Let Obama nominate and get confirmed a guy who doesn't pay his taxes to run the tax department.

    Lets hire a criminal to run the prisons.
    Lets hire the luneys to run the luney bin

    January 31, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. Ron, Oklahoma City OK

    Second nominee with an 'honest mistake' in taxes. Mr. Obama needs to rethink his 'vetting process'. Once a mistake, twice a lifestyle...a lifestyle we have to honestly live with!

    January 31, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. HelpAmerica

    After the Bush administration, these minor tax infarcations are just that. I say get over the pettiness and confirm these people. Americans are tired of this mess Bush put us in. I hate to have a democratic Presidentl and a Democratic controlled House and Senate but if the Republicans do not quite being so petty then I guess we will have to live with the Democrats in control of everything.

    January 31, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. AnnieinKC

    Let's re-read the New York Times article again.

    It said that Tom Daschle relied on the annual statement SENT TO HIM by Intermedia.

    In the frenzy of the workday, we ALL rely on the annual statements and W-2s sent to us by those who pay us.

    It was InterMedia's fiduciary responsibility to SEPARATE the consulting fees from the company-provided transportation on their annual statement.

    "But, the official said, Mr. Daschle should not be penalized because he had discovered the tax liability himself, paid up and brought it to the committee’s attention."
    - New York Times

    So what is your problem with THAT?
    We're all human. We all make errors.
    Other company's errors cause OUR errors.

    The difference between you and Tom Daschle is, NO ONE is publishing it nationally when you make a mistake on YOUR taxes.

    Really, gentlemen (?), you need to either comment publicly on something more concrete, or stay on the porch.


    January 31, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Mike

    It's always a different story when it's a Democrat. You guys are nothing but a bunch of hypocritic, dishonest, anti-American thugs.
    If we can hold on until 2012 in this great country under Hussein Obama, it will be a miracle. Our chances were better against the British...I;m not sure we'll win this one. I think the republic as we've known it for the last 200 plus years is over. Thanks Hussein Obama Sr.....you should have stayed in Kenya !

    January 31, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. marian

    After the last eight years these repulican'ts need to shut up, and let the man get elected and sit back while this new administration do it's work. It's like these idiots who worship a dumb fat loser like limbaugh need to go and hibernate for a century or two. Bush was the worst president of all the presidents, he should be charged with genocide at the least. So whinning about someones taxes should be the least of their problems. They can't stand that president Obama won fair and square and people love him internationally, so go pop more pills rush.

    January 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Larry

    All of the slime bags ought to be audited-they are all dirty !!They're politicians aren't they??

    January 31, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. he is a good man

    I hope he is confirmed, he does good work

    January 31, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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