Where To, Mr. Daschle?

by Zina Saunders on February 3, 2009

Tom Daschle, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human services, is facing some hard questions today regarding his failure to pay more than $140,000 in taxes, much of it related to a chauffeur-driven car provided to him by big-time Democratic donor Leo Hindery, Jr.

To make things worse for Daschle, his tax problems came to light just as his financial statement to the Office of Government Ethics was made public. This  required report showed that he made millions of dollars giving public speeches and private counsel to insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other firms with complex regulatory and legislative interests in Washington.

Daschle was also an adviser to the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird, which paid him $2.1 million last year in addition to providing him with a 401k plan worth between $100,000 and $250,000. During his three years with the lobbying group they earned more than $16 million working on behalf of some of the leaders in the health care industry in their dealings with the government, often before the department he’s in line to lead.

He managed to do all this without ever registering as a lobbyist. But the bottom line is that he got a lot of money from health care, pharmaceutical and insurance companies which have billions of dollars at stake in the regulations from the Health and Human Services.

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a closed-door session today to discuss Daschle’s tax problems. I wonder how all his old buddies will view these revelations?

To read a little more, here’s an article in the Washington Post, and another on Politico.

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