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

Daschle says he is 'deeply embarrassed' over tax issues


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/10/art.daschle.gi.jpg caption="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. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    All I am concerned with is did he acknowledge the mistake? I think that is a yes. Did he pay the missing money with penalties and interest? That I don't know. As long as the amount that he should have paid is remitted with penalties and interest, that is fine with me. I hope that he hires a better accountant from now on.

    February 2, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. JB

    You know what great point. If our politicians are supposed to be the brighest, most educated representatives in our country, and they are "by accident" not paying taxes, then wouldn't we expect average citizens to "accidently" forget as well. Kerry seems to think it is an understandable mistake. How so? And one of these smart politicians who "accidently" ignores his tax responsibilities. . . . .AND YOU PUT HIM IN CHARGE OF THE TREASURY. . . . ????????

    February 2, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Larry

    The sad battle cry of liberal elites…Tax and spend (as long as it's not me that has to pay the taxes).
    Why does Obama surround himself with criminals ??

    February 2, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. LF Oneto - VA

    It will be a mistake for President Obama to insist in appointing Senator Daschle. There is no excuse for this "oversight" specially, a politician who has access to the best tax attorneys (at government expense). I support the President in everything he is doing, but this one does not meet the basic standards of ethics.

    February 2, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. james

    Looking good Dems! Is this the change???

    February 2, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Dave

    Rush and Geddy Lee said it best "The more that things change, the more they stay the same".

    Folks it's ALL politicians that are out of touch with reality and have no clue what it's like in the real world. They are ALL pampered and expect / demand special perks since they ALL will take whatever they can get.

    Appears that the "change" we voted in is just more of the same

    February 2, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Greg

    isn't it funny that all these tax errors that the government or former governtment people have are unintentional!

    February 2, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Rick

    You are just number two in a long line of democrates which have used lies to hid your tax evations from the public and then buddy up with others who lie for you. Those of you that are so blind that you cannot see arer the ones who put these people in charge by electing Obama and these people will eventually corrupt the American Society with their lies.....

    February 2, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. TCM

    @ MARI – the problem lies with your intial statement....

    "As a democrat, I am deeply disturbed..."

    You act as if there's some sort of respectability in the White House. When you elect an individual, who was spawn from a sea of corruption, laden with a lack of ethics...that's what they relate to, and that's why Obama picked him....rotten apples don't fall far from the tree. The biggest problem we face in this country is too many liberals have the ability to get their hands on the taxpayers' money.

    February 2, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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