Tom Daschle’s Tax Problems Worse Than Initially Reported

Tom Daschle’s tax problems are looking a lot more significant today as additional errors have been revealed. Political Punch reports:

The report indicates that Daschle’s failure to pay more than $101,000 taxes on the car and driver a wealthy friend let him use from 2005 through 2007 is not the only tax issue the former Senate Majority Leader has been dealing with since his December nomination prompted a more thorough examination of his income tax returns.

Mr. Daschle also didn’t report $83,333 in consulting income in 2007.

The Senate Finance Committee Report also notes that during the vetting process, President Obama’s Transition Team “identified certain donations that did not qualify as charitable deductions because they were not paid to qualifying organizations.  Daschle adjusted his contribution deductions on his amended returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to remove these amounts and add additional contributions.” This adjustment meant a reduction in the amount he contributed to charitable foundations of $14,963 from 2005 through 2007. With the unreported income from the use of a car service in the amounts of $73,031 in 2005, $89,129 in 2006 and $93,096 in 2007; the unreported consulting income of $83,333 in 2007; and the adjusted reductions in charitable contributions, Daschle adds a total of $353,552 in additional income and reduced donations, meaning an additional tax payment of $128,203, in addition to $11,964 in interest.

On January 2 of this year, Daschle filed amended tax returns to pay the $140,167 in unpaid taxes.

After the initial reports came out which were limited to failure to pay taxes for the car and driver the conventional wisdom was that Daschle would still be confirmed. This was expected as Senators tend to go softer on those who have been in their club and he Daschle is close to Harry Reid. Now his fate is not as clear. So far the track record for cabinet nominees running into scandals has been 50:50 with Bill Richardson pulling out and Timothy Geithner being confirmed.

It is too early to say if these relevations will prevent Daschle’s confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services. If it does prevent confirmation it raises a couple of additional questions. If he is not confirmed, will he still keep his West Wing position as health-reform czar, which might be a more important post than being in the cabinet? In the event that Daschle winds up without either job, how will this impact Obama administration attempts at health care reform?

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  1. 1
    DB says:

    I am sure there is a “good” reason for this, but I still think it is bad politics. We can’t be pushing for people with tax problems to take such high positions of responsibility. You and I would get more than a slap on the hand for this if it were us, but the precedent we are seeing lately is that it is ok for the privileged few. We voted this kind of politics out in November.

  2. 2
    nursesforchange says:

    The tax issue is disturbing though I find it more troubling that a portion of his income was earned from advising health care industry clients through his employment at a law and lobbying firm.  While he has some good ideas about health care reform, he is tainted and should withdraw from consideration for both positions.  Obama needs to understand that this *appears* to many of his supporters as politics as usual and not change.

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