Saturday, January 31, 2009
A second Obama nominee has issues with the IRS. Apparently, Tom Daschle, Obama's nominee for the post of Secretary of Health and Human Services, has some problems with past taxes (h/t to Aziz Poonawalla). From the article:
Daschle filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and reduced deductions for charitable contributions. He filed the returns after Obama announced he intended to nominate Daschle to head the Health and Human Services Department.
Most of the additional taxes resulted from unreported income from the use of a car service provided him by a close friend and business associate, Leo Hindery Jr. The unreported income for that service totaled more than $250,000 over three years.
Daschle also had unreported consulting income of $88,333, in 2007. He also had reductions to charitable contributions totaling about $15,000 over the three years covered, according to the Senate Finance Committee document. The document, marked "Confidential Draft," is a committee statement concerning Daschle's nomination.
I realize that many people make mistakes in their taxes. The US Tax Code is needlessly complex and changes all the time. That being said, there are plenty of professionals out there that do other people's taxes. Daschle most certainly could have afforded and excellent accounting firm.
While I am willing to cut some slack, for minor errors, this seems to be more than a minor error. Obama has made some great choices for Cabinet posts and other administrative positions. He has set the bar very high, which is why this nomination has me wondering if Daschle can do the job. Aziz Poonawalla, from the previously mentioned h/t) also wonders:
The sheen of technocratic comptence that is so critical to building popular support for bold policy starts to wear thin when your Cabinet picks keep making "stupid mistakes" (direct quote from an unnamed White House upper-up).
Who would have been a better choice?