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Posted by on Feb 2, 2009 in Politics | 2 comments

Tom Daschle Sends “Deeply Embarrassed” Letter To Senators Apologizing For His Taxes Mess


If this appointment sails through comedians will start saying the Obama administration is getting more passes than the San Diego Chargers.

President Barack Obama has issued a statement saying he is “absolutely” standing by health secretary designate former Majority Leader Tom Daschle despite messy details that came out about Daschle’s tax history. The betting according to several accounts: Daschle will indeed get the appointment– which would make him the second Obama administration with tax issues to get a pass.

If so, it’ll come after he sent an apology to Senators — but a report by The Atlantic’s Marc Aminder suggests his most fervent apology should go to the Obama administration:

White House anger erupted briefly this weekend when senior administration officials told reporters that HHS nominee Tom Daschle had not disclosed to them that he had to pay back taxes on the car and driver Leo Hindery’s concern provided him with. Daschle clarifies that timeline below, but his clarification raises additional questions. Daschle says that, in the course of the betting, improper deductions for charitable contributions were discovered by the vetting team. At the same time, on a separate frequency, Daschle’s accountant suggested that it might well be time to consider paying taxes on the car and driver. Daschle didn’t bring this latter issue to the fore until his accountant rendered an opinion, on December 10. Why he didn’t alert the transition vetting team to this potential error earlier is still unclear. (Why someone with that knowledge decided to leak it this weekend, thereby jeopardizing Daschle’s chances even further, is also a mystery, perhaps more of one.)

Go to the link to Ambinder’s blog to read the entire “OOPS!” letter. Does the word “grovel” come to mind?

There is a bigger issue here and he who raises it gets accused of being partisan, but it isn’t a partisan one. In many ways, political outrage in the 21st century is highly selective. Daschle is a big boy and if he’s in public life knows he should have told the Obama folks every minute detail of his life because if something could come out, it would come out. Daschle was reportedly a close advisor and friend to Obama, so it’s understandable that Obama would want him in the cabinet.

But many of the Democrats who’d rant and rave about a Republican having the same problem (as we would on this site) aren’t ranting and raving now.

Which goes to prove that in 21st century America political outrage is like incest: it’s relative.

Be sure to read Robert Stein’s earlier post. Other blog reaction is here.

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

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