February 3rd, 2009
12:26 PM ET
9 years ago

New York Times calls for Daschle to withdraw

Daschle met with the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.

Daschle met with the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.

(CNN) - As Tom Daschle makes his case to remain President Obama's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the nation's leading liberal editorial page is calling for the former Senate Majority Leader to withdraw his nomination.

In Tuesday's lead New York Times editorial, the paper's editors write Daschle's failure to pay close to $130,000 in taxes for a car and driver service over three years is too big a mistake for Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee to overlook as they consider his nomination.

The paper's editorial board particularly takes issue with the fact that Daschle has said he identified the unpaid taxes last June, but did not pay them until he was nominated for the top post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Only after the Obama transition team flagged unrelated tax issues that would require filing amended returns did Mr. Daschle and his accountant address the need to report the personal use value of the car service — more than $255,000 over three years — as income," the board writes.

Earlier: Daschle 'deeply embarrassed' over tax issues

The editorial also criticizes Daschle for generating a sizeable income from health-related industries while working in the private sector. The former South Dakota senator has advised UnitedHealth Group, serves as a trustee of the Mayo Clinic, and has been paid "hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to interest groups, including those representing health insurance plans, medical equipment distributors and pharmacy boards," according to the Times.

"Mr. Daschle is another in a long line of politicians who move cozily between government and industry. We don’t know that his industry ties would influence his judgments on health issues, but they could potentially throw a cloud over health care reform," the editorial said.

Watch: Daschle issues an apology

The editorial comes one day after Daschle met privately with members of the Finance Committee, the panel which is slated to on his the nomination next week. The committee's chairman, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, issued a statement of support for Daschle after the 75-minute closed-door meeting.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs also said Monday President Obama continues to stand behind his HHS nominee.

"I think the Senate will lay a serious, but corrected, mistake against that three-decade career in public service," Gibbs said.

Watch: Daschle's tax troubles

Filed under: Tom Daschle
soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. bitter_in_pa

    Doug ... good post .. I agree. The Dems are showing us there is no real difference between the 2 parties.

    February 3, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. California Gold

    Daschle's lack of support isn't a Republican or Democrat issue. He made over $3 million in the last two years from the insurance industry, which he now wants to be in charge of regulating and reforming health care. He failed to file correct taxes. We believed Obama's campaign to break from the past and his executive against former lobbyists in his White House.

    February 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Selena

    Why is that all these people in goverment positions not paying taxes. We do!

    Maybe this stimulus package should not only hit on CEO's bonuses, but maybe less salary and no drivers for elected officials.

    February 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. JA/TN

    the state of this country should have the media, policticans and all so-called experts questioning themselves, from the false reports on wmds to Madoff enron, worldcom the list goes on and is called deceptive greed, NYT throw another stone, the man paid the bill

    February 3, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. tim

    As much as I like Daschle, he should withdraw. Too many industry connections and the taxes thing is just plain stupid. How do you really overlook paying that much in taxes? Many people would be thrilled to be making $155k or however much it was, let alone be rich enough to pay that much in taxes.

    The real person for the job to run HHS is a qualified doctor - Dr. Howard Dean.

    February 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Eugene

    White House, please listen up. This is not Rush Limbaugh talking. These are voices of reason who wish that Obama's agenda not be torpedoed by a foolish, baggage-laden appointment. The tax issue is only half of the problem. Daschle's connections to the health industry are very troubling to those of us who wish for real reform. Would Obama have appointed an EPA director who had lobbied for Exxon for ten years?

    February 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. 1/20/13

    To Jeane

    They should have a say, they are the reason he got elected......Kind of like ACORN being part of the bail out. "You scratch my back I scratch yours"

    February 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Lynne - Seattle

    I don't think this is a Democrat or Republican thing....I think it is a dumb jerk thing. There has been too many caught doing something wrong on both sides...in recent years there have been republican sex scandals, democrat sex scandals, tax scandal, leaking CIA operatives identification scandals...etc, etc, etc.

    This is just someone choosing to make the wrong move. If you or I had been caught owing $130,000 in back taxes being named to a new job would not be an issue....we would be in JAIL!

    That my friends is the double standard. The rich and powerful, of both parties, do not seem to be held by the same laws that the average and non powerful are in this (and most) country.

    February 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Bo

    This country is hurting big time, and we don't want to hear about another dishonest politician being forgiven for something the rest of us would be jailed for. $130,000 in taxes is big time. Obama is no longer credible. This is his 3rd major nominee with tax issues; at least Richardson had the decency to pull out. I don't think Obama will have the wisdom nor guts to ask Daschle to do the same. Joe Biden, I'm waiting for ya to fight for us honest middle guys-talk some sense into your boss!

    February 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Ross Foyee

    Besides Obama picking a few whimpy glamour-boy conniving guys like this Geithner and Daschle, he is also trying to negotiate talking with Hamas to get them to stop sending rockets into Israel daily. Hamas is not a peaceful organization. Obama will never get these towel-head Dumb Arabs to settle down and act civilized toward a peaceful country such as Israel...Obama seems to have lost a lot of pre-election sense for lack of a better term. He better get his brains in order quickly, or he is head for Bushville!

    February 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Rachel

    The New York Times is right! Daschle must withdraw. Just like Nancy Killefer.

    February 3, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Lesley

    I agree that he should withdraw. And while we're at it, how about investigating all members of both houses of Congress and forcing them to either pay up on their "tax mistakes" or resign their offices.

    February 3, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Randy

    Libs give half as much to charity as Republicans and now we see why they like to raise taxes they dont pay them. Yes we can yes we can. What a joke, how many are now unemployed and has Bo come by and given you a check yet.

    February 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. NC Democrat

    What Tom Daschle is far worse than what Ted Stevens of Alaska was indicted and found guilty of in court. At least Senator Stevens was 84 years old and had a wife who was in charge of the work being done on his home. Yet he was indicted for obtaining free or reduced cost work on his home and not paying taxes on the money. Why should Tom Daschle and the new Treasury Sec. and a few others not be indicted?

    February 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. windfall

    he should step down. his new reputation will bring discredit to the job, rendering him not only ineffective, but a potential butt of many jokes.

    February 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Tim Geitner

    Anybody can make mistakes.

    February 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. enuff already

    Now this is disturbing. Where's the change? I realize Obama needs a balance of new thinking and people experienced with Washington but what happened to his excruciating vetting process? Sounds like one change we need now are more IRS auditors.

    February 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Deborah

    All of these tax issues are a detrement to President Obama's ability to lead with ethical people on his team.

    Throw the bums out, who are "above" playing by the rules!

    February 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. senj

    Geithner, Daschle and then Nancy, this is becoming embarrasing, I critically looked at Geithner's case and I concluded it might have been an error, but looking at Daschle, I don't think so. If he didn't reveal it until the "Transition team" pointed out another tax issue which is unrelated, my conclusion is he is hiding something. Please Tom, withdraw and don't impede this new government.

    February 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Jeff Fyke

    Obama should have went with Dean anyway!

    February 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. R. W. May

    Enough already of the crooked politicians. When are we going to learn.

    February 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. mike

    couldn't agree more. i thought obama said this crap was not going to happen anymore.

    February 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Kelcy

    He just do the ethical thing and withdraw his name.

    This was not a simple mistake and he has not be working with the IRS as Geithner had been even before his nomination. In fact, it appears he knew this was a problem months ago and chose to nothing on the off chance he was not offered a position.

    However, as someone pointed out, a good many of the Congressmen and former Congressmen may have this problem. Zero sympathy from me. I paid my nanny taxes....all of them. Back before you could easily look up all the information on line, get the forms on line, fill out the forms via any of the tax programs, and so on and so forth. Takes only minutes to figure out what the rules are on gifts which would still have required him to pay taxes.

    They should all be audited by the IRS and anyone that was a Congressman in the last 10 years. There is money to be made with late fees and penalties on top of the actual taxes owed. They could look at it as being good patriots. It would also go a long way to restoring our faith in them. Right now.....I just look at them all as tax cheats. Makes you want to skip doing your own taxes this year. Oops....guess I can`t avoid the taxes.....my income is all from salary which has W-2 with it.

    February 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. Stanley Jones-Umberger

    I don't care about his tax problems. He is too financially tied to the medical insurance industry to bring any real, and much needed, change. I nominate Michael Moore or Ralph Nader.

    February 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Bobby Wilson

    Seems like once you "pay to play" you get to "play"?

    February 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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