February 2nd, 2009
06:01 AM ET
9 years ago

Daschle says he is 'deeply embarrassed' over tax issues

Daschle says he is 'deeply embarassed' over tax issues.

Daschle says he is 'deeply embarassed' over tax issues.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's choice to oversee health care reform in his administration expressed regret Monday to Senate leaders over tax issues that are dogging his nomination.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said he is "deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns," in a letter dated Monday to the senior Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee that was provided to CNN.

"I apologize for the errors and profoundly regret that you have had to devote time to them," Daschle said in the letter to Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Daschle has been nominated by Obama to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

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.

Daschle emphasized to Baucus and Grassley in the letter that "My mistakes were unintentional."

But two senior Democrats, both members of the Senate Finance Committee, have made public statements of support for Daschle despite his tax troubles.

"Tom Daschle has dedicated his life to public service. I have every confidence that he will be a great Secretary of Health and Human Services," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. "I look forward to working with him to finally deliver real health care reform for the American people."

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said he considers the matter resolved. "Months ago, Tom personally and proactively addressed the taxes issue and took all necessary steps to correct his innocent error," Kerry said. "I've known Tom Daschle for years and he is a man of great character and integrity who will do a superb job in helping us fix our healthcare system. I look forward to his speedy confirmation."

Filed under: Tom Daschle
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. John

    How come when a senator or politician does something illegal, such as break tax laws, it is called an "innocent mistake"? He should be treated no different than any other tax avoider.

    February 2, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  2. Dem from Arizona

    What ever happened to Personal accountability? Wether you are a DEM or REP or whatever you own your responsibility. Sad.

    February 2, 2009 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  3. Bradley M Lemberg,M.D.

    Hmmmm,I guess he could be called "a limosine liberal who chooses not to pay taxes on his limosine."But,then again,he is a Democrat and its ok as long as he says he did not "intend "to do it!

    February 2, 2009 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  4. Dan

    No wonder Democrats always want to RAISE your taxes. It doesn't affect them because the politicians that raise them – don't pay them!

    February 2, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  5. Jeff Brown

    Another dopey Democratic...shame on you Tom!

    February 2, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    This the CHANGE you folks voted for, you just have to live with it for the next four years.

    February 2, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Mari

    As a Democrat, I am deeply disturb by Daschle. How is it possible that an educated man, former senator can be so irresponsible with his taxes.

    If this would have been my husband and I , the IRS would have already collected their "pound of flesh"....... Mr. Daschle, you are unfit to be a member of Obama Cabinet.

    Say, goodbye.

    February 2, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. enough

    Obama's 'ethics and transparency' promises were apparently just lies. Daschle is just the lastest in a string of unethical appointees. If Obama was sincere, he's ask Geitner and Holder to step down and withdraw Daschle's nomination. Otherwise, he leads as the 'do as I say, not as I do' president.

    February 2, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Matt Shine

    Yes, shame he wasn't a paragon of virtue, ala Jack Abramoff. Idiocy knows no political affilitation.

    February 2, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. d1120

    He needs to go...........typical politician....talking out of both sides of their mouths....whichever benefits them most.

    February 2, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. jm

    Dem from Arizona –
    Good point. Why is it that we will let this slide because he's a Democrat. They'd be chomping at the bit if it was Repub. Americans need to put their distaste and disillusionment for the Repubs aside and realize that NO politicians should be trusted fully and that ALL should be held accountable for their actions.

    February 2, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. Empty people voted for an empty suit

    This is uh, uh, uh, uh a "hiccup" or a uh, uh, uh, uh "simple mistake" as they are DEMOCRATS and according to Kerry they are so "smaht" and wouldn't do this on purpose.

    How about this Obambi, try selectinf someone that DOESN'T have tax issues, donation issues, Nanny issues.............

    Change uh, uh, uh we can believe in?


    February 2, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Kris in AL



    February 2, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Jesse from Maryland

    Could you imagine the scandal in the media if Bush had nominated someone with these kinds of obvious problems?

    February 2, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. JB

    John, you are right. DIfferent rules and standards. Isn't it ILLEGAL to not pay taxes. Isn't it a criminal offense? It seems to me that f you find one of these guys that don't pay their taxes. . . .mistake or an anonomoly. Two, makes you wonder. . . .three and we begin to see a pattern. That pattern. . . .dems don't pay taxes!

    February 2, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. dan in Tucson

    It is a serious mistake to put someone who cannot manage his own taxes, let alone pay them, in charge of the IRS. PLAN and SIMPLE. Duh..... Find someone else.

    February 2, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. so obvious

    The ultra-wealthy don't even pay what relatively little taxes they owe – why would we give them more tax cuts?

    February 2, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. All Crooks

    It is the Inside the Beltway Gang – that unethical band of arrogant tax cheats and frauds – led by John Kerry Nancy Pelosi and barney Frank. The gang is looking for new cowboys - like Geithner and now Daschel - Richardson could not make it – got caught by the FBI. If Obama insists on letting another tax cheat and liar in his Gang – aka Cabinet – his reputaion, ethics, morals, and campaign promises for change – are all GARBAGE

    February 2, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Dawn

    How true John, we would be thrown into the pen, here we go again, you could vett someone and they turn out to be crooks while in this cabinet. Look at VP Agnew, he was a republican and he was caught in that web of tax evasion and he bowed out and shortly after that Nixon resigned the White House for ciminal activities.

    Dubya had criminal activities and he remained in the Oval Office, now is this fair? Absolutely not.

    February 2, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. PATC

    All americans should follow the new Obama standard. Don't pay taxes unless you are named for a Cabinet position and then just say it was an honest mistake? Free Wasley Snipes.

    February 2, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. DEMwits

    The liberal hypocrisy continues...

    When $80,000 becomes so insignificant to you that you "unintentionally" forget to report it....how can you claim to champion the cause of "the little man" like the Dems say they do???

    The sad battle cry of liberal elites...Tax and spend (as long as it's not me that has to pay the taxes).

    February 2, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. patriot

    Step aside, Daschle. You've acted like a Republican. We don't need this in our new administration.

    February 2, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Bob in Pa

    And well he should be. At least he owns up to it and is said to be paying penalty and interest.

    The bigger question is, can we the American people afford to put someone in a position such as this if they can't even figure out their own taxes ?

    February 2, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. CR From Texas

    I am starting to worry... this is the second Obama nominee that has problems with the IRS... Is this a common trend in the Obama administration? If they don't like to pay taxes, why do they opose the republican party for proposing tax cut?

    February 2, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Tom in Delaware

    It's OK Tom, you can take comfort by crying on Timothy Geithner's shoulder...he'll understand.

    February 2, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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