03 February 2009

The Most...

Ethical Administration ever strikes again.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Daschle’s tax shortfall is particularly troubling because it comes on the heels of another nominee’s failure to pay taxes due. We were not pleased when the president’s Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, admitted that he had failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in federal self-employment taxes while working for the International Monetary Fund despite having signed paperwork acknowledging the obligation.

Now we are confronted with an even larger lapse by Mr. Daschle, who failed to pay $128,000 in taxes, primarily for personal use of a car and driver provided to him by a private equity firm for which he consulted. Although the firm — headed by a major Democratic donor — had not issued a form 1099 for the value of the car service, Mr. Daschle said he became concerned last June that he might owe taxes on it and instructed his accountant to investigate. Neither was concerned enough to actually pay the taxes.

... Only after he had been chosen to be the health secretary did Mr. Daschle tell the transition team about the unpaid taxes. He paid some $140,000 in back taxes and interest on Jan. 2 to settle several tax problems — and he acknowledges owing more.

In both the Geithner and Daschle cases, the failure to pay taxes is attributed to unintentional oversights. But Mr. Daschle is one oversight case too many. The American tax system depends heavily on voluntary compliance. It would send a terrible message to the public if we ignore the failure of yet another high-level nominee to comply with the tax laws.

Mr. Daschle’s financial ties to major players in the health care industry may prove to be even more troublesome as health reform efforts proceed. Like many former power players in Washington, Mr. Daschle cashed in on his political savvy and influence to earn $5 million in recent years, including more than $2 million from Alston & Bird, a law and lobbying firm; more than $2 million from the private equity firm, InterMedia Advisors, which provided the car and driver; and hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to interest groups, including those representing health insurance plans, medical equipment distributors and pharmacy boards.

Same old song and,
Same old song and,
Same old song and dance
My friends.


Another one bites the dust.

Damn, this is fun, and to think it has only been two weeks.

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