Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What Did Daschle Do?

It is fascinating to watch the blowback from the election. Where the American people voted for hope and change, the opposition wants to paint the new leadership as tawdry and corrupt. Some statements in our comments section summarizing Tom Daschle's career as that of a "tax cheat" made me wonder exactly what it was that Daschle did.

Interestingly, you will find literally thousands of news articles mentioning that Daschle did not pay his taxes and the effect on Obama's presidency, but it is nearly impossible to find a description of what Daschle actually did wrong.

I found one source that says a little, ABC News:
After being defeated in his 2004 re-election campaign to the Senate, Daschle in 2005 became a consultant and chairman of the executive advisory board at InterMedia Advisors.

Based in New York City, InterMedia Advisors is a private equity firm founded in part by longtime Daschle friend and Democratic fundraiser Leo Hindery, the former president of the YES network (the New York Yankees' and New Jersey Devils' cable television channel).

That same year he began his professional relationship with InterMedia, Daschle began using the services of Hindery's car and driver.

The Cadillac and driver were never part of Daschle's official compensation package at InterMedia, but Mr. Daschle -- who as Senate majority leader enjoyed the use of a car and driver at taxpayer expense -- didn't declare their services on his income taxes, as tax laws require.

During the vetting process to become HHS secretary, Daschle corrected the tax violation, voluntarily paying $101,943 in back taxes plus interest, working with his accountant to amend his tax returns for 2005 through 2007.

(Daschle reimbursed the IRS $31,462 in taxes and interest for tax year 2005; $35,546 for 2006; and $34,935 for 2007, a Daschle spokesperson said, adding that Daschle had asked his accountant to look into the tax implications of the car and driver five months before Obama won the presidency.) Bumps in the Road: Obama's HHS Secretary Nominee Faces Tax Questions Over Car and Driver

His friend gave him a job and had his limo take him around. Daschle should have added the value of the car and driver to his income and didn't. In his time in the Senate he got a car and drvier without charge, it sounds like he did not know he was supposed to include it on his IRS forms. Would you have thought of it, including the value of a car and driver when you reported your income?

Note that last parenthetical comment. Daschle had realized that he might need to report this back in ... November minus five equals July ... and asked his accountant to take care of it.

The IRS rules are complicated, and more complicated for people with investments here and there and multiple jobs, especially consulting jobs, than most of us have to deal with. Did Daschle hide this nonmonetary compensation intentionally to save thirty thousand something a year? Maybe he did, I can't say, and you can't either, but if he did then you wonder why he asked his accountant to look into it. Those who are up for high-level appointments have to meet a higher standard than you or me, and he didn't meet it. You want to make him out to be a criminal? Better look out, your agenda's showing. It would be good if the President could appoint the best people for these positions, but obviously he's got a lot to learn about the pettiness of Washington.

At least President Obama's done the first thing right, which is to admit it when he has made a mistake. Bush wouldn't admit he failed in Iraq, he wouldn't even admit making mistakes in Katrina, he blamed the economy on Clinton, I'm sorry Obama's guys are getting torn apart by the Republican attack machine and hope he learns to beat them at their own game, but in the meantime what we need is for him to try to get the best people into these important positions.

And it is a breath of fresh air to hear the President admit a mistake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

Notice that he said 'TO THE LETTER." His words, not mine.

In addition, Daschle deducted his children's camps as a business expense AFTER his accountant told him that he couldn't do it.

He also deducted charitable contributions incorrectly.

The worst thing that Daschle did, in my opinion, was fail to rectify the situation until he was slated for a position in the Obama administration. Had he not paid taxes 15 years ago, and made amends all on his own 13 years ago, then that would have been a huge point in his favor.

As it is...he's just your ordinary, run of the mill tax cheat.

February 04, 2009 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bush wouldn't admit he failed in Iraq"

Iraq is a huge success, as was seen clearly in the Democratic elections they had this weekend where all sides participated and the radical interests were defeated at the ballot box.

In what sense is Iraq a failure?

February 04, 2009 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Obama should ask Geithner to step down. His offense was worse because he clearly knew he had not paid taxes. His employer did not pay employment taxes and reimbursed hum for doing it himself and he signed a document that he would. Even if he misunderstood all that, when the IRS audited him and made him pay back for two years, he would have known he had the same situation for another two years but waited until his nomination was imminent to pay the taxes.

Obama can't be faulted for not knowing but he should now deal with the situation.

Geithner is now in charge of the IRS, for heaven's sake.

February 04, 2009 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I did my taxes this year already.

February 04, 2009 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely -- Geithner should step down. And regarding Daschle...his accountant told him about the car and driver situation and Daschle did NOTHING about it for six months! Most people would be running to the IRS, begging for mercy, if they had discovered an error that big. And, really, who in the world could have a car and driver, driving you around day in and day out...and not, at some point think, about taxes. Especially someone with Daschle's background!

February 04, 2009 1:31 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

His friend gave him a job and had his limo take him around. Daschle should have added the value of the car and driver to his income and didn't. In his time in the Senate he got a car and drvier without charge, it sounds like he did not know he was supposed to include it on his IRS forms.

LOL!!!! Wow, Jim, you really know how to minimize for the sake of partisan advantage. As the first anonymous comment indicates, Daschle has only himself and his greed for money and lust for political power to blame.

How Geithner got approved to head Treasury is a mystery...though I think it will come back to haunt Obama. Oh, that's right...the economy is in "crisis" and it does not matter that someone that could not be bothered to take care of one of the most basic of civic obligations did not take care of his as I say, not as I do.

February 05, 2009 1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite Jim and Bea's parroting Of Barry O's assertion that Republican opposition to the stimulus plan is obstructionism, 62% of Americans are opposed to the bill as now constructed:

"A Gallup poll out Tuesday showed that a majority of Americans want Congress to either reject or make "major changes" to the economic stimulus package on Capitol Hill.

The poll, conducted from Friday through Sunday, found deepening doubts about the effectiveness of the programs and spending items currently being considered by federal lawmakers. Only 38 percent of those polled favored the existing stimulus proposal, down from a slight majority holding that view in the Jan. 28 Gallup survey."

How did Obama fall so far so fast?

That honeymoon was short but not cheap.

Even Clinton waited a little longer before alienating the public by trying to force the military to hire gays!

February 05, 2009 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's really funny is the liberal columnists and congressmen who were saying last week, "If the Republicans don't want to cooperate let's just eliminate the concessions we've made and push it through."

Boy, did they get dissed!

You see, Obama was right when campaigning: this remains a center-right country.

February 05, 2009 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gallup, Schmallup!

The prestigious and highly regarded Ramussen poll found 63% of Americans don't favor the bill.:

"Support for the economic recovery plan working its way through Congress has fallen again this week. For the first time, a plurality of voters nationwide oppose the $800-billion-plus plan.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% favor the legislation."

Between the daily scandals and the loss of confidence from the public, these are dark days to be a Democrat.

Yikes, 2010 ain't that far off!

February 05, 2009 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What Did Daschle Do?"

Well, for one thing, he's been lobbying in areas where he would administer programs and Obama said he was going to put an end to that practice.

Maybe he thought we wouldn't notice if he didn't declare the income on his return!

February 05, 2009 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The prestigious and highly regarded Ramussen poll found 63% of Americans don't favor the bill."

And if they asked, Rasmussen would find that at least 63% of Americans don't like paying their taxes either.

February 07, 2009 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we know most Democrats would do almost anything to avoid paying taxes

If anything, the last weeks have taught that they don't mind raising taxes because they have no intention of paying them

February 09, 2009 4:25 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I think it's neat that the Republican talking points get posted to our blog just as soon as the email goes out.


February 09, 2009 6:59 AM  

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