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.