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

New York Times calls for Daschle to withdraw

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/03/art.daschle.gi.jpg caption="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. mw

    Let's just get all the politicians audited right now. And the banks, and the CEO's, and all the lending institutions, and everyone in high paying positions on wall street. Let's do it.

    February 3, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Mike H.

    The NYT editorial calling for Daschle to step aside never once mentioned Obama. You would have thought Daschle was selected by immaculate conception.

    Let's get real, Obama's selection/vetting process for cabinet slots has become a disaster.

    February 3, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Truth

    Boo Hoo.... Daschle is a crook. Good Riddance.

    February 3, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Layne

    It's so amusing to see all you Repugs having a spaz attack because of this Daschle story, and trying to blame it on Obama. You've been whining since Nov. 4 about how all the liberals think he's perfect and can do no wrong, but it's really you Repugs who want to hold him to that ridiculous standard. The hypocrites got shown for what they are in the 2008 election, and all your ranting isn't going to get you any more credibility in 2012.

    February 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. HSP

    While it's regrettable that Daschle made such an oversight (or took advantage of the system, depending on how you see it), it is still unfortunate for us as a nation to lose someone so experienced and progressive. If we look at health care under the Bush administration, we had a HHS director who tried to abolish contraception (CONTRACEPTION!), a senate majority leader who thought it was appropriate to tell his constituents that you can spread AIDS through tears, and a president who believed that abstinence was the only legitimate form of health education that children should receive. Regardless of who steps up after Daschle steps down, Obama's administration will work to right those wrongs. And to anyone who can accomplish that , I really don't care what your taxes look like.

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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