January 31st, 2009
05:10 PM ET
11 months 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. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Big deal, I support Daschle. The IRS gave me wrong reporting information on my taxes when I retired and now I'm still paying.

    January 31, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. sandee in Portland

    Innocent error my butt! It seems like the only time the politicians get caught cheating on their taxes is when they are going to be appointed to an office. The average citizen wouldnt' be allowed to wait until they were going to get a plum job and neither should a politician. What has our government come to that politicians and ex-politicians are given such favor.

    January 31, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. recnepS

    All I hope is that Tom can extend Medicaid to all working low-income Americans. Their seriosly needs to be a CHANGE to our healthcare system.

    January 31, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Albo58

    Oh, John Kerry has given Daschle a thumbs up so he must be ok?#! Since when did Kerry actually acquire some sort of creditability? Kerry is apart of the same hypocracy that claims charter members like Daschle!

    January 31, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. Michael

    Once again, Dems look the other way for one of their own. Had this been a Republican, and he/she claimed it was because of an incorrect tax form provided to them by somebody else, you wouldn't care.

    Daschle should not be confirmed!

    January 31, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. Ben Kohn

    Do these politicians realize that the IRS will hound people to death who owe even a $100? So, now our politicians are above the same treatment that Joe the Plumber has to deal with????

    January 31, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. me

    I just think it's great. The Democarts have problem raising our taxes becuase obvuously they have no plan to pay them....

    January 31, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. Dems are all tax cheats and crooks

    Crooks stand together; dame with tax cheats. For all know, nobody in politics pays any taxes – they are all part of the goo dole boys club. Obama's cabinet looks more shady and corrupt than Nixon's Watergate crew. This is not change; this is just disgusting.

    Kerry spoke out for Geithner. I wonder what he and his 3 billion dollar wife are hiding ......

    January 31, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Jeff from Jersey

    Business as usual folks.To think I voted for Obama expecting a higher standard of ethics.What ever was I thinking?If Obama is REALLY serious about change then he should immediately withdraw Daschle's appointment and THOROUGHLY research his new appointee and hold that person to the higher standard that he promised us all.
    That's no "innocent error" Senator Kerry.Daschle knew of the law before-hand and was hoping to get by without reporting it but it wasn't going to work so he "volunteered" the information after the fact.

    President Obama: HOLD YOUR ADMINISTRATION TO A HIGHER STANDARD AS YOU PROMISED!THESE PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO SET THE EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF US!IF THE PEOPLE THAT WRITE THE LAWS DON'T FOLLOW THEM THEN WHY SHOULD THE REST OF US?

    January 31, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. RealityCheck

    Politics as usual.... no real change.....only talk of it....

    January 31, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Joebanana

    It doesnt surprise me that the democrats would line up behind Daschle since they've already lined up behind Geithner and Sharpton. Not paying your taxes seems to be the in vogue thing these days. Let's just hope 50 million other people don't decide to follow their lead. Looks like the Obama change is not change at all but more of the same but with an open disregard for the American people and its ok not to pay your taxes if you don't want.

    January 31, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. mike

    Look, I think AC hand it right when he asked how this guy is getting a car and a driver paid for. What is he royalty? Or just a powerful lobbyist that makes the wishes of corrupt CEO's come true? Or he has a rich friend?

    January 31, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  13. for texas republic

    another crock---–the dems are going to kill this country---you can not spend your way out of this mess----i know bush did not help

    January 31, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. pjca

    If people who write the tax code don't know what it includes, what does that say about it? I do not believe in "innocent" mistakes by politicians, especially when they're brought out when they're in the spotlight.

    January 31, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. Griff

    I was Blind! But now I see, say's Barack Obama... What can I do about all this: Stardust......

    January 31, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  16. Jim

    Just imagine if Daschle and Geihtner were Republicans! They would rightfully be scrutinized and not allowed to use non-excuses or abuse the taxpayers but, if your a Democrat you can live by one set of rules while enforcing another on the little people. Just like Animal Farm...

    Jim

    January 31, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. Amy

    My goodness! Who cares about taxes that he's taken care of in the meantime. It's sad when you can't trust a company to provide the appropriate tax documentation. Most people aren't tax professionals.

    January 31, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. susie

    Kerry calls this an innocent mistake? Is that what the rest of us taxpayers can say to the IRS too?

    January 31, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. Larry

    Another Democrat tax cheat. Oh well, we now have one in charge of the IRS, why not HHS too?

    January 31, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. Remy, MD

    Jesus.... the media will just SPIN this stupid issue over and over yet again.

    Who cares?

    January 31, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  21. Oh Please!!

    Stop the hypocrisy. If Daschel were a republican all you apologists would be calling for his head and you know it. No wonder the Dems always want to raise taxes, they don't pay them! Not change we can believe in!

    January 31, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  22. aware

    Certainly! What is a little corruption among palm-greasing cronies! :(

    January 31, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  23. Suzi

    Tax returns are amended all the time, sometimes a person will do it every year when they have complicated returns.

    It sounded in another Political Ticker article that the Finance Committee was following a procedure that they have followed with everyone they reviewed before and that this has happened many times. It's just making sure all is in order now.

    And for this kind of mistake I would definitely be saying the same thing for a Republican or Democrat.

    All this points to is how complicated the tax process is and how easy it is to be given the wrong paperwork or misinterpret the IRS rules.

    January 31, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. jerry

    once again, if your a Dem and you mess up on your taxes its ok its just someone else mistake, not them, 2 for Pres Obama, I think i wont pay taxes anymore too

    January 31, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. MrPragmatic

    This is a nothing issue that the Rushpublicans are surely trying to whip into something. Daschle is incredibly qualified for the HHS post, so let's get him in there ASAP and get national healthcare on the fasttrack like it should have been in 1992. Tom Daschle is as honest as the day is long.

    January 31, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
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