The Travails of Tom Daschle

The nominee for secretary of health and human services ought to withdraw his name and let the president choose a less-blemished successor.

Comments: 125

  1. Ok, nobody is saying this right out, so I have to...

    With all the hard-working, intelligent, compassionate people in America who have a good heart and want to contribute to society....

    ...are you telling me that there is no one...ABSOLUTELY NOBODY...capable of doing these political jobs well who has a clean record!!!!

    Is it truly not possible to find enough men and women who have paid their taxes, not hit their wives, not been addicted to drugs, and who aren't tied to every industry to take up these positions? What does it say about our political system that all of those typical, honest americans who simply do things right either don't want to be in politics or can't make it to the top?

  2. This is an excellent editorial, well reasoned and well written. Mr. Daschle should step aside and save the President from terrible embarrassment and from jeopardizing his forthcoming healthcare proposals. Mr. Daschle is one tax cheat too many for an administration which promised "change we can believe in".

  3. . . . . . .and then again, there's always the chance I won't get caught. PUL-EEEEZE.

  4. There is a bigger issue than Tom Daschle here. And that is Barack Obama.

    I write as one who passionately supported Mr. Obama from very early in the campaign. The statements coming from the Obama administration that these were unintentional oversights by Mr. Daschle, and that he never actually lobbied for any of the health sector firms that he worked for, may or may not be true -- in the case of the taxes it is very hard to credit them, as if a free car and driver from an employer is not a taxable benefit then what is? -- but are in any case unacceptable as explanations of why Mr. Obama is not applying to high ethical standards that he has promised the nation, and for which the nation is thirsting so badly, to Mr. Daschle's nomination.

    This is an opportunity to learn a lesson in humility, which is another quality that Mr. Obama has demonstrated and which should serve him well. Admit that his team blew this one and affirm loudly and clearly that much as he admires Mr. Daschle, and much as Mr. Daschle's skills make him an excellent candidate for this post, this administration is serious about changing Washington and cannot turn a blind eye to Mr. Daschle's errors and shortcomings. Anything else, further half-truths and self-serving sophistry, only identifies Mr. Obama has just another Washington politician who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk when it comes to ethics and reform.

    There are other good candidates for this job. Scratch this one up, show the country that you've learned and understand that you are also subject to the same high standards that you want to apply to others. Please, Mr. President.

  5. Thank you, NYT. I agree absolutely.
    I'd rather see someone unconnected to insurance companies in charge of health care reforms.

  6. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm afraid I have to agree with this editorial. Daschle should step aside voluntarily so that someone without tax problems or lobbying ties to health industry companies can take this important position. He can serve as an advisor to the president on these matters and let his expertise be used that way. He can continue to work as a lobbyist on these issues (and register officially as such). But he cannot serve in the office to which he has been nominated. It's just too much to swallow following on the heels of Geithner, and our recent loss of faith in all the "experts in high places" who were supposed to be knowing what they were doing as responsible professionals instead of just ripping everyone off. The public has a distaste for personal opportunism at public expense these days. This just isn't the year for a second tax evader to assume high office.

  7. I agree that Daschle should step down. He has been a fine leader for the Democrats in the past and I am grateful for his service to the nation, but this just doesn't smell right. I would rather not have two tax-evaders in Obama's cabinet.

    Even if Daschle were to be approved, his massive tax mistake makes him an easy target for distraction and distrust, once the administration pursues significant health care reform. I don't want anything to harm the chances of such reform and I'm confident that the Limbaugh sycophants will use whatever they can to make this administration, and our nation, fail.

  8. I agree that Tom Daschle should withdraw his name as the nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

  9. I am sorry that Mr. Daschle is in this predicament. I liked him when he was in Congress, but there is no excusing a failure to pay taxes for three years. This is not a person I want in any Cabinet level office, especially whebn there are so many blemished people who should be brought to trial.

    The government of Obama must be cleaner than Ceasar's wife. Or Ceasar. Or God for that matter. You know Mr. Limbaugh and all the cohorts will do everything the can to destroy Obama. Did you not listen to Rush on his program? Or the replay on NPR?

    We live in parllous times thanks to those who are greedy, self-absorbed, or incompetent.

    Don't we really deserve better?

  10. I originally thought Daschle was a good choice, but as his tax "lapses" and substantial financial ties to the health care industry - the very industry so desperately in need of an overhaul - comes to light I believe Obama must cut him loose. Not to do so will deeply undercut our faith in Obama to bring "change we can believe in."

  11. ...and the long suffering American public who have waited for universal healthcare should get a less skilled political operator to handle what's likely to be the biggest ideological knife fight between Republicans and Democrats in a generation. Get real. This is war, you go with your best soldiers.

    We should have a tax audit of every single member of the Senate and see what we'll find. Please remember Larry Flynt's reward for exposing Republican adulterers during the Lewinsky saga... Daschle discovered the problem himself, had someone investigate it and paid off the money. That's how honest mistakes are corrected.

  12. Whatever expertise Daschle would bring to the job is more than offset by the taint that his tax issues bring. He should follow the fine example set by Mr. Richardson and withdraw his candidacy.

  13. Can't these people get decent accountants to prepare and review their taxes? I realize that it's ultimately one's own responsibility to file tax returns, but people who make millions per year must have accountants who advise them on taxes. Isn't it easy for something to go wrong in the process? Isn't filing an amendment and paying up the right thing to do? I think this editorial is very sanctimonious; let's have a look at the tax returns of the editors of the NYT for the last few years and see if we can't find some kind of error somewhere along the way.

  14. I, too, have been disturbed about Tom Dashle's tax problems. I was pretty disturbed about Geithner's as well, but nothing like about Daschles which are larger and very obvious.
    I understand that Mr. Daschle is likely to be confirmed and, though I am a devoted Democrat, I find this very distressing. Mr. Daschle and Mr. Geitner should do better and don't deserve their jobs when they cheat ( and I do belive it was more than a simple error) on their taxes.
    If Obama is to hold his employees to a higher level, then he should do it.
    If cabinet level officials cheat on their taxes, how can the IRS hold the rest of us responsible for nickle and penny errors in our own.
    I voted for Obama and am still a fan of his, but I think these tax cheats should not be nominated or confirmed.

  15. This is what is not expected of Obama Administration. Obama supporting Daschle for nomination of Bush supporting the supreme court nominee even it was known that she wouldn't make a very competent Supreme Court Judge. We not only need a competent government, but a ethical one as well.

  16. Please President Obama, pick another nominee for HHS secretary. You and your administration are far too good, and the times too delicate, for any taint. It is critical that you not resemble in any way the sleaze that came before you.

  17. I don't know why the NYT editors are being so coy. Mr. Daschle SHOULD (not could) clear the atmosphere by withdrawing his name.

  18. Thank you NYT for this reasoned editorial. Almost every other news source I've seen seems to want to give Daschle and Obama a pass on this. (Way to live up to "in the tank for Obama" stereotypes, other media). Obama said he'd run a clean, transparent administration with stringent ethics- it he shoudl live up to his word.

    -And I say all this as a huge Obama supporter.

  19. What is with all the tax problems for Obama's nominees? Can't they afford an accountant?

    Daschle's ties to healthcare industries are much more troubling that the tax issue, frankly, and should disqualify him. Any proposal he puts forward will be scrutinized for conflicts of interest thus further complicating healthcare reform, a task already complicated by political resistance from the Republicans and special interests. We need someone untainted like an Al Gore with a passion for healthcare reform.

  20. Enough! Enough obsessive holier-than-though analysis of every personal and financial turn of candidates and nominees. When did the policy views of our prospective leaders become so secondary to their personal lives? In my view, what counts is that Daschle is a passionate, experienced, and effective advocate for real universal health care. He can help move that critical goal through the arcane passageways of Congress. To 47 million Americans who have NO health insurance, and the tens of millions more who have too little, Daschle's tax returns are utterly irrelevant.

  21. "We believe that Mr. Daschle ought to step aside and let the president choose a less-blemished successor."

    So this is the NYT's good deed for the year. An opinion they know won't be heeded but one that they can pat themselves on the back for writing because they actually took a liberal to task.

    If this were a Republican administration--let's say McCain for the sake of argument--the piece would have been peppered with the name of the president in order to tie him to the appointee and also to make it look as if he made a bad pick. Your piece was artful in it's dodging of Mr. Obama's role in this pick. It was all "Mr. Daschle should do this" and blah blah blah. Where is the request for Mr. Obama to drop him? Why is it M. Daschle's responsibility to step aside? Doesn't Mr. Obama have a say, too?

  22. Enough is enough, now.

    Holder: How can we expect a man who pardoned a convicted felon, fugitive and arms dealer with Iran to enforce the highest laws of the land?

    Geithner: how can we expect a man who dodged paying taxes to oversee the IRS?

    And now, Daschle: How can we expect a man who has received major cash from healthcare companies and lobbyists to regulate and reform them?

    President Obabma's call for change is beginning to sound like just another hollow campaign line. So far, this is not the Obama Administration I voted for.

    Is there anyone in Washington who has brains, talent AND integrity?

    We are so screwed.

  23. Being a die-hard liberal myself, I find it very troubling to find that the new Obama administration is sweeping the ethics lapses under the carpet. I also find it hard to believe that where people are out of work and every job is well contested by many candidates, we cannot find alternate candidates.

    Anyone claiming high moral and ethical grounds has to be like "Ceasar's Wife". Nothing less. No exceptions. Just being less harmful than George Bush is not a "standard" to look up to.

  24. Daschle's relationship with United Health Care which has been fined millions of dollars in several states for delaying and denying payments and overcharging customers is particularly egregious.

    Howard Dean is a doctor and a much better choice for the position.

  25. Am I worried about the vetting of the top officials at the Obama administration? Probably.

    But I am more worried about him choosing a mid- level politician who has no education/ training/ experience in intelligence to head the CIA.

    Perhpas it is Obama's lack of experience in managing or some sort of judgement problem, but there is nothing more important than security, and it is extremely reckless to choose someone who will be completely dependent on the opinions of the people whom he supposed to lead.

    That decision is alarming, and should have received the appropriate attention by serious journalists.

    It is better to be more prudent and thoughful beforehand.

    We do not want another New Orleans disaster at the scale of NYC, just because someone got his job in a field he knows nothing about.

  26. Is this "WARD THREE MORALITY" being applied here?
    There aint no fat cat who is not tainted in some way. Not in your contry nor in mine.
    If Daschle can reform the Health System - let him at it & don't choose second best.

  27. Am I the only one wondering about those purportedly minutely detailed and personally intrusive questionnaires for prospective appointees that we heard so much about in November and December? Their description in news stories conveyed an image of meticulous and almost brutal vetting. But after Geithner and Daschle, I keep wondering what those supposed exercises in self-disclosure really contained in the way of probing questions, and whether the provided answers were actually investigated in any case other than the Clintons.

  28. Even the most self-righteous moralizers can fathom the possibility that Daschle made an honest mistake. Should we dismiss his talent and competence to soothe our own troubled souls? Give the man a break and let Obama govern.

  29. It will be such a pleasure to see you people go bankrupt. The Right has hated you for years, and now you're alienating all but the lunatic Left. Barack Obama has said he wants Daschle for the job and only two weeks into his administration you're undermining him. Please stop this "goo-goo" nonsense and get with the program.

  30. President Obama promised "change you can believe in."
    Mr Daschle clearly isn't believable.

  31. You are so correct. The Geithner and Daschle appointments call into serious question Obama's principles and judgment. I am appalled at these so-called leaders evading the taxes they owe and disturbed by Obama's standing squarely behind Daschle as yesterday's paper reported. Is this change we can believe in? It looks more like business as usual to me. Daschle should withdraw.

  32. I have liked the senator in the past but I agree with NYT that he must step aside.

  33. Right on!

    Bohdan A. Oryshkevich, MD, MPH

  34. He is a crook (cheating on taxes) and a felon (failing to report taxable income). He should not be appointed to any position of responsibility or trust, much less the cabinet.

  35. A suggestion for a replacement: Sheila Kuehl of CA; a just-termed-out state senator who has carried the health care reform torch for many years.

  36. And yet Larry Craig and David Vitter not only do not step aside, but remain steadfastly unapologetic. Apology and self-recrimination seem as much a part of the Democratic genetic code as incompetence and arrogance are trademarks of Republicans. Being Republican means never having to say you're sorry. Anybody recall that these guys have been running things into the ground for eight months? Should Daschle atep aside? Are you kidding me?

  37. The Times has it right. Mr. Daschle should withdraw immediately. His late tax payment problem and his close links with big business deprive him of the ethical high ground any new secretary of health and human services will need in the very difficult struggle to persuade Republicans and other skeptics of the value of a universal health care system -- one of the most important items on the Obama agenda. In many ways, establishing a universal health care system is much more important than bailing out Wall Street. Health care is crucial to this administration and to many millions of Americans, and Mr. Daschle, despite his past record, no longer has the credibility or charisma to push through the difficult reforms that are necessary. The major reason Republicans are noncommittal about Daschle's candidacy is surely because they believe that if he becomes secretary universal health care will be easier to defeat.

    In addition, there happens to be a superb candidate for the job once Mr. Daschle does the right thing and makes up his mind to withdraw. No one in the US knows more about actually establishing a universal health care system than Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts. Although the new Massachusetts system has had some problems, it is proving itself and is achieving popular acceptance. As governor, Patrick has shown himself to be highly able, intelligent, and a mover. He sometimes steps on other politicians' toes, but his fearless can-do attitude is just what we need in Washington. The practical as well as political lessons he's learned while being governor and establishing a workable state health care system are worth many dozens of books of the type written by Mr. Daschle. Gov. Patrick is realistic as well as visionary. He's also a friend of president Obama and would probably be able to work well with him.

    President Obama should never have vetted Mr. Daschle so sloppily and shown such exceptionalism toward him. One suspects favoritism and perhaps even political payback for Daschle's support during the campaign. Mr. Obama can make up for this lapse by promptly accepting Mr. Daschle's withdrawal and then proposing Deval Patrick instead. If he does, the chances of his health care plan becoming a reality will increase significantly. Mr. Obama must show he is a true leader by doing the right thing, even if it's difficult. Mr. Obama, please remember your inaugural address! America has not yet forgotten it.

  38. One hundred and forty thousand dollars! What bothers me more than unpaid taxes is the sheer amount. To me it would be a windfall of life-changing proportions; to him it's a bothersome issue that needs to be dealt with so that he can qualify for a job. Rub your neck and write 'em a check. Furthermore it downright frightens me to think of what that amount signifies in terms of the total amount of money that is being thrown around in Washington.

    This Daschle affair, and Obama's support for him in spite of it, underscores that the true, deep seated problems in Washington are not going to be dealt with by anyone who has to raise tens of millions of dollars in order to run for office. The system is well and truly broken, and even a voice of change as significant as Obama's is not enough to fix it.

    Maybe it's time for me to just suck it up, admit that the US government has been bought and paid for, and start looking for another country.

  39. Advice is never worth $5 million. Advice, as the famous song goes, "is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth."

    INFLUENCE, on the other hand, can be worth $5 million. What Tom Daschle sold was influence. He's far from the only one--and that's the real disgrace--but he should not be in charge of the health care reform our nation desperately needs.

  40. First Tim, then Tom, and perhaps many more to come out. What a surprise. A country has rotten to the core from Wall Street to Washington, by only a matter of degree.

    Yet why NYTimes gave Timmy a pass, and holds up Tommy?

  41. First, regarding his failure to pay certain taxes, I do not blame Mr. Daschle for his lapse in judgement. The American tax code is so confusing many congressional leaders responsible for setting the tax code do not even do their own taxes. I do think he is at fault, however, for not revealing this information sooner to the public and to the Obama team.

    Second, Mr. Daschle's financial ties to major players in the health care industry is inappropriate for the person responsible for the Department of Health and Human Services. Medicare and Medicaid are increasingly costly the federal government. Currently, the United States spends approximately 16% of its GDP on health care expenditures. That is greater than all other Western nations. Why is this the case? The cost of medical care and prescription drugs in this country is exponentially higher than in other countries. If there is any possible hope of fixing the health care industry in the United States, these costs must somehow be decreased. A secretary of health and human services with ties to the beneficiaries of the current high-cost system (i.e. the prescription drug companies, doctors, hospitals, and HMOs) is not the right person for the job.

  42. What does Tom Daschle share with Tim Geithner? – and recent heroes Vitter, Foley, Craig, Jefferson, Richardson, Stevens, and many other of either party in D.C.?

    Answer: the drinking water.

    Yes – it’s not institutional and corporate culture that we may blame for so many of our ethically forgetful, traduced, and fallen. They are, after all – ask them – all innocent – good guys. They can say this because they’ve all drunk the same water, and cannot imagine any other way to see themselves and the privileges, entitlements, and further licenses all have taken.

    Please: let’s not investigate anything inherent in our institutional culture – nothing from its corporate academe training grounds to its executive board rooms. Please: ignore all this – as all our sociologists, corporate media, and poly sci heavies long have. American corporate culture is sacrosanct – and deserves all our celebrity media to ooh over, all our tax subsidies to expand internationally – and, if there are a few traditional culture recalcitrants, we’ve got a military to blow them all away.

    So if there’re a few glitches of a few tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for Daschle, Geithner, or others let’s look at the water they drink, and look no more.

    Phil Balla

    Proprietor, www.EssayingDifferences.com

  43. How can three years' use of a car cost a quarter of a million dollars? Where did he go in it, to Tierra del Fuego? Was he living in the car? What was it, a Lamberghini?

    OK, I understand that the car came with a chauffeur. But still. I mean, who gets paid that kind of money to drive a car? I don't see The Times covering these angles.

  44. I'm glad that the New York Times has called for Tom Taschle to step aside. President Obama's campaign called for a Promise of Change. Tom Daschle is not that Change we need in this difficult time in our country. Tom Daschle should do the right and patriotic thing and put his country ahead of personal or party interests and remove his name from consideration by the Senate.

  45. We can do better. We deserve better. Mr Daschle is Washington politics as usual. We voted for Change.

  46. The new administration will constantly encounter fresh challenges to new norms and best options. A timely Daschle exit could be symbolically healthy and politically serviceable. It is a time for savoring any hint of integrity we can get. Give us a break.

  47. The more we learn about Daschle the less suitable he sounds. The $140,000 he paid in back taxes is about 3 times the annual median family income. Even worse, his extensive and lucrative ties to "health-related companies" since he left the Senate only 4 years ago undermine his credibility as an advocate for serious reform of our health care financing system. Many of us believe that a single-payer system is the best way to go. The secretary of HHS can hardly recuse himself from decisions related to the health care industry. Further, his lack of honesty in telling Obama about his probable tax liabilities inspires no confidence that he will honor the public trust.

    Glenn Greenwald has posted disquieting information about both Senator and Mrs. Daschle on Salon.com.

    Where are the public servants who are dedicated to the public interest?

  48. It has been known for a very very long time what Mr Daschle has been doing. The media just didn't bother to really understand what it all meant. And, is it legal and/or ethical to do the work of a lobbyist but not register as a lobbyist? Can one get away with being a "lobbyist" and just not register as one. It appears that the pay (and perks) is the same.

  49. Mr. Daschle needs to apologize for even considering the appointment and quickly "disappear." I am amazed that Obama said he "absolutely" stands behind Daschle. It would be a terrible waste of political capital and the mandate he received from the American people Election Day to pursue this issue by trying to get Daschle confirmed. I suspect President Obama will do an about face on this one and the sooner the better.

  50. No to Daschle working in the current administration. No, no, no.

  51. If the proposal passes to throw members of the British House of Lords out who are convicted of felonies or failure to pay taxes, even though they have marginal legislative power, should the USA really demonstrate less integrity?

  52. I am an Obama supporter, and I couldn't agree more with your editorial. Either Daschle withdraws on his own or Obama needs to suspend his nomination. Not only does it go against Obama's position on the relationship between the interests of the public and those of the industry (hence putting into question very early on the credibility of his administration), but the issue of health care reform is too important to risk nominating someone who may not be able to fully represent the public interest. This is our historical moment to tackle the issue and we should avoid any chances of getting this wrong. And, of course, how can we Democrats keep a straight face if we nominate and accept the nomination for Secretary of somebody who won't pay taxes. There is no way for me to believe that his not declaring that income was an oversight. Obama et al, let's get real and do this right.

  53. The NyTimes would love to have this qualified nominee be confirmed but will sacrifice him in the knowledge that a potential conflict of interest is not part of the Obama agenda. Commendable. That's why this newspaper is respected. It's about getting past the taint of special interests and corruption. That's what Obama campaigned for, that's what we're all waiting for. Bravo for this editorial NYTimes...

  54. President Obama's decision to support Senator Daschle and Mr. Geithner shows that such ethical lapses in his nominees do not concern him. I would like to hear President Obama _explain_ why he still supports Senator Daschle and Mr. Geithner. Neither is indispensable.
    It has been less than two weeks since President Obama's inauguration: his administration will go the way of previous administrations in terms of ethical behavior.

  55. No! Daschle should stay. For now, Obama needs him.

  56. The unfortunate reality of U.S. politics is that if you want someone with enough inside experience, power, and influence to actually make big things happen, it is almost guaranteed that they will have a “checkered” past that includes high-paying industry lobbying and consulting gigs.

    Healthcare reform is too massive and too important to be left to someone who lacks the kind of clout and congressional conviviality that Mr. Daschle clearly has. His warm reception at his confirmation hearing was a wonderful sign. Past attempts at health care reform have gone nowhere because of fierce partisan fighting and inexperienced champions at the helm --think of the Hillarycare disaster.

    Mr. Daschle is a uniquely qualified individual for the top HHS spot. When it comes to health care reform, he has an impressive understanding of what needs to be done. He also knows Washington works, he has close personal relationships with the people in congress, and he knows which reforms are politically feasible and which ones aren't. This means that under Mr. Daschle's leadership, we might actually see some meaningful progress on health care reform.

    Mr. Daschle’s experience working with industry should be viewed as a positive, not a negative. It serves only to broaden his understanding of the health care system.

  57. What a disappointment Obama has become in only 2 weeks on the job, what happened to the era of 'responsibility", was it not his V.P who campaigned on it being a ' Patriotic duty to pay higher taxes", didn't Obama campaign "rich people paying their fair share", unless he appoints them to his cabinet then it doesn't really matter. To have the person in charge of the American Treasury and the IRS, found to have cheated on his taxes, then nominate for Secretary of Health and Human Services and a former Senator who by the way was on the finance committee (people who write the tax laws) have to pay over 120 thousand dollars in back taxes and in both cases they only payed the taxes once nominated and in essence forced too. This from a sanctimonious democratic party that has been rebuking republicans for higher tax rates, I guess when you don't pay them, what does it matter what the rates are. What Obama doesn't seem to get is it doesn't matter how many photo op's his team set up with him lecturing Wall-Street or Obama giving speeches about responsibility, what the American people see with these nominations is, that when it comes to crunch time, he's has a big a hypocrite has they come.

  58. Enough with all the complaining about executive bonuses and perks on Wall Street! If Senator Tom Daschle and Secretary Tim Geithner can cheat (yes, I said “cheat” and I meant it) on their taxes, then Wall Street can pay outrageous bonuses even while on the Federal dole. For that matter, I can cheat on my taxes, and so can you, and everybody else.

    Does that sound right? I don’t think so. Neither should you.

    Daschle and Geithner should go. They have served their country badly, and set an awful example for the rest of us. How can they possibly be the sort of public servants that can help us out in these troubled times?

  59. We are talking about intellegent professional lawmakers here who undoubtedly hire well payed professional accountants to handle their tax returns. I doubt the innocence of these "mistakes" and I am saddened that Daschle, a favorite of mine, has struck another blow to our American leaderships' credibility.
    It's time for the President and those he has chosen to work for us to "walk the walk". Talk is cheap enough already. Daschle should withdraw.

  60. President Obama has made enough number of exceptions in terms of hiring lobbyists into his cabinet and I totally agree that Mr. Daschle should step aside. Perhaps his back tax is an oversight judging from the claim that his friend "lets" him use the car and the driver. My problem with that is that given his income since he left the Senate, he cannot afford to buy his own car and hire his own driver? That is just plain greed.

  61. I think the greatest problem is Mr. Daschle's close ties to suspect health care players. One of his clients, UnitedHealth has been under a cloud here in Minnesota for its obscene compensation of its executives, at the expense of consumers. And that company has been implicated in extensive wrongful denial of claims. I don't know how Mr. Daschle can purport to represent ordinary citizens with this connection hanging over his head. How will he ever be credible? I am disappointed because I admired him as a Senator, but I just don't think he can fill this role with credibility. He needs to resign.

  62. Daschle does not meet the ethics test and should withdraw his name.

  63. "Only poor people pay taxes."The wealthy and influential either have 'oversights' or creative accountants preferably both.

    It's interesting that you suggest that the president choose a 'less-blemished' successor, because I feel in the arena of politics there is no such thing as un-blemished, alas.

  64. Thanks to the Times for speaking up. An early Obama supporter, I totally agree Daschle needs to withdraw. He represents last century's politics. A disappointing pick from the start, he has been shown to be entirely unsuitable in light of his tax evasion.

  65. I could not agree more with your editorial.

    Daschles track record as revealed by current events is one of representing private medical insurance entities who are a major reason why our helath care system is so terrible.

  66. I hope Mr. Dashchle takes your advice.

    I wish the new Treasury secretary had done so.

    Is it possible that ALL the Democrats that Obama can choose from are tax cheats? Is it possible that Washington is so awash in moral corruption that Diogenes would die in DC before finding what he was looking for?

    I am disappointed that our new President doesn't seem to feel that paying taxes that are owed is good citizenship. Many Americans do try hard to pay their taxes. Their leaders should as well.

    And, of course, the more people who follow the examples of these two Washington insiders, the more difficult it will be to EVER balance the budget. The government actually does need the money in order to survive.

  67. Daschle could have given Blagojevich lessons in how to make "pay to play" look more "respectable". Yet underneath it all, Daschle, who's been simply going by the standard Washington playbook for cashing in on political influence, is every bit as seamy and crassy money-grubbing as Blagojevich. Whether he could add anything in the way of healthcare reform, I don't know.

  68. He is too slick. He will be a stain on the cabinet. There must be someone out there without tax problems or conflict of interest problems.

    Daschel should withdraw his name. We can do better than that.

  69. Daschle's appt. should be dashed.

  70. Thank you for this editorial. It echoes 99.9% of the people's voices in your comments section and other online media outlets and blogs. The public's intent in voting for change was not just superficial window dressing. We voted for change in the form of an honest, transparent and fair government for all its citizens, not business as usual for the washington and corporate elite. President Obama risks his very hefty political capital with these nominations and seems to underestimate the degree of populist outrage building in this country.

  71. What has happened to "change we can believe in"? I am in complete disbelief in what we as a society have stooped to. Can we not appoint leaders who pay their taxes and have not lobbied for interests they now will promote? I did not vote for Obama but felt secure that we would not fall victim to the same ole politics. "Change we believe in"??? is really no change at all. Daschle needs to be shown the door. If not, I will lose all faith.

  72. I agree that Tom Daschle should withdraw his name. His many tax issues and ties to private health organizations raise too many questions regarding his unbiased fitness for such an important appointment. I think the public is tired of "embarrassing tax and other omissions" by potential appointees and it is not a good reflection on President Obama's sincere attempts to bring integrity into his new administration.

    Surely, there are other qualified personnel with impeccable records who deserve to be appointed to important positions. And they have not done a thorough enough vetting job for past and current appointments.

  73. I propose that the Obama team nominate every current/past member of congress or lobby group for a position in the Obama cabinet.

    Imagine all the back tax money that will suddenly start pouring back in to the IRS!

    In this way, maybe we can use all the money that will start making its way back to Uncle Sam to cover the federal budget deficit and fund the stimulus plan. These men would be patriotic heroes for helping to jump-start our economy!

    For an excellent analysis, see:

    http://www.salon.com...

  74. One wonders if Mr. and Mrs. Daschle have heard about tax accountants or whether they use TurboTax like our new Secretary of the Treasury (wink, wink). While sliding on the edge of unethical if not illegal income reporting and bogus deductions, they might ponder what the average taxpayer is up against and simplify the tax code.

  75. Tom Daschle has little to do with the fundamental analysis required to provide assessment, education and treatment of patients. If he fails to provide a plan for our nation's health, it will not be due to his ethical lapse.

    Our health care system strives to provide services to all people and typically does so with private physicians, state and federal programs and emergency rooms throughout our Nation. The reality that emergency rooms have become the most used and expensive point of contact is revealing both in data and in cost analysis and should be the place to begin the analysis. Many modern countries provide these services for a fraction of the cost, and typically their citizens are healthier. If you think that Mr. Daschel's ethic is compromised due to his relationships with the industry, I would disagree and suggest these relationships pivotal to fundamental change must be led by someone that they know and trust. I could be wrong however, and if so President Obama will need to bench the bums.

  76. This editorial is ridiculous. Tom Daschle got a free car and driver -- period. Now he has to pay taxes on the car and driver, because he's up for a cabinet post and he can't duke the issue out with the IRS as a potential tax deduction. That's not tax fraud; it's politics.

    Also, Daschle has been an outspoken advocate for a national health insurance plan. If the insurance companies (which I consider to be racketeering enterprises) aren't afraid of him, and see him as someone they can work with, so much the better. He's campaigned tirelessly, and successfully, to turn the Senate Democratic and make Obama President. You think that he's going to sell us out to UnitedHealth? Come on.

    You guys can't see the forest for the trees.

  77. Here we have another case of a political and corporate insider who did not play by the rules and regulations which envelop the rest of us. What I find distressing is that after Barack Obama watch John McCain's campaign so terribly damaged by the awful vetting job on Sarah Palin he has permitted himself to fall victim to the same sloppiness. Or he has so completely swallowed the advice of the inside-the-Beltway courtiers that he is no longer capable of fighting for the integrity and change he purportedly championed. Daschle should go, and so should two or three of the President's advisers who are leading him deeper and deeper into an ethical swamp.

  78. Rubbish!

    According to your logic, no one who ever worked in the health industry should be allowed to shepherd health policies for the Administration.

    Daschle's signature issue as Majority Leader was health care. Is it any surprise that, when he left government, he went to work in the industry in which he had singular expertise? Or that he should be selected as Secretary of HHS for the same reason?

    If we follow your logic, only idiots who know nothing about, and have had no commercial contact with the Health industry should be allowed to run Health policy.

    Not good for the Country, in my humble opinion.

  79. perhaps it is time for an investigation of the accounting profession.

  80. Thank you for the Editorial.

    Are we to believe that there is no one left in America who is familiar with the healthcare system, knows his way around Washington, hasn't engaged in influence peddling on behalf of the healthcare industry, and pays his taxes?

  81. No to Daschle...Yes to Howard Dean

  82. I agree. Tom Daschle should step aside. This time I hope the Obama team will choose someone less tainted AND someone willing to go beyond Daschle's employer based health insurance. With so many unemployed and underemployed we need a to help those in need ASAP.

    And then there are the fully employed uninsured.

    At my clinic last week I treated a woman who has worked at the same chain restaurant for 28 years without receiving any health insurance. She cannot afford all of her medicines and is taking them less often to stretch them out. Needless to say her health is suffering. As a nation we can and must do better than this! To our president I say: Do not abandon the millions who suffer and the millions more who will suffer if you do not find the political will to provider universal health coverage to all.

  83. I voted for Obama, but must admit I am troubled by both Daschle and Gheitner's nominations. Gheitner's is especially worrisome since he is treasury secretary. Properly doing one's taxes isn't rocket science. Either way it's bad, it's either tax evasion or incompetence. I have a sneaky suspicion that if we investigated all the politicians in Washington, we would discover nearly 100% have questionable or outright illegal tax returns.

    With all the "money" being thrown at problems in Washington, why not throw $500B at a national health care program. What could stimulate the economy more than eliminating the fear of bankruptcy for 47 million uninsured, and another 50 million with "junk insurance" ?

  84. The NYT Editorial Page didn't take this extraordinary step regarding Tim Geithner, who will supervise the IRS. Tom Daschele is the best man for the job - for policy and understanding of healthcare issues -- and has paid the taxes. He is willing to forego future earnings post his tenure as HHS Secretary for the period President Obama has established under new directives.

    President Obama has chosen his team, and finding 3000 saints based upon previous established norms - is an impossibility. He is fortunate to have had only two problems, with the totally out-of-control laissefaire 20 year elite abuses of the American taxpayer.

    Let's help the new President make this transition to a new day, by not removing the best for the job before he even has a chance.

  85. President Obama set pretty high goals and standards for his Administration. It's too bad there's so much tainted material in DC that he can't escape tripping over it in his staff picks.

    If we did an audit of Congress and eliminated all who have significant tax discrepancies, and all ex-Congressmen, Senators and Presidents who are now lobbyists in all but name, how many would be left standing, besides Jimmy Carter?

  86. This editorial makes sense: Mr Daschle's tax problems and lobbying activities make him unfit for a cabinet position.

    What was different with Mr Geithner? The NYT didn't see a major problem about his tax practices. Still today, the NYT doesn't even mention Mr Geithner's failed tenure at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; after all, the world's financial system collapsed under his watch. Nor does the NYT examine Mr Geithner's role as the architect of the Paulson bailout.

  87. Little wonder the old boys in Washington such as Daschle so ardently sponsored and supported Obama’s candidacy. They knew all along what some of us feared from day one from an Obama Presidency. It would be business as usual for the old boys in Washington and so it has proven to be.

    Obama embraces the ultimate in hypocritical posturing with what we now know to have been his insincere and dishonest campaign promises.

  88. One hopes principle trumps pragmatism in this case and President Obama lets it be known that Tom is not the right man. Yes, he is savvy, could open doors, knows his way around the halls. But change, one hopes, means changing more than just the name plates. There will be truly defining moral moments in the first 100 days. Surely this is one. Let's start off with as much integrity as possible.

  89. The problem with Mr. Daschle's explanation is that it not credible. He obviously understood that income need not be in the form of money, but his explanation -- that he considered the use of the car and driver a gift from a friend -- does not withstand scrutiny because it was provided by the private equity firm for which he was consulting. In short, the one part of his story that is not credible is that this was "a complete oversight." The fact he received no 1099 in respect of the car is analogous to Senator Stevens' not being billed for all the work done on his house. It doesn't help.

    Had President Obama promised nothing more than a cleaner administration than the last one, he would have a lot of leeway. But he didn't and he doesn't. The question ought not be: How good would Daschle be in the post? The question ought to be whether the new President will make the principled decision, however uncomfortable it may be.

  90. I could not agree with this editorial more. Tom Daschle would do a great service to his friend Barack Obama, and his Country by withdrawing his name from consideration just like Bill Richardson did. It will save potentially defective Obama Government being born.

    It appears despite all his good intentions Barack Obama feels he is stuck with all these people who either failed to pay their taxes or had some uddesirable lobbying connections which in the beginning he gave a blanket renunciation. To make exceptions and push for Senate approval for Daschle and others is an act of abortion for "the reformist Government" Obama promised.

    I say someone smart take away the knife and stop seppuku before it happens.

  91. I agree that, as did Governor Richardson when his nomination for Commerce Secretary was marred by alleged federal law violations, Mr. Daschle should withdraw for the good of the nation. But if he does not withdraw, President Obama should cancel his nomination and find a suitable candidate who has no problems with the IRS and/or conflicts of interest with the health industry. Thus far President Obama appears to regard this situation as a matter of Presidential prerogative and/or loyalty to his nominee. One would think that he would give a little more thought to the thoughts and feelings of the millions of ordinary Americans who just put him in office -- and who probably share my inability to understand why, in a nation of 300 million people, the President of the United States cannot identify and nominate a qualified man/woman who has no federal tax problems or conflicts of interest with an industry he/she will be regulating.

  92. Every time the need for health care reform becomes obvious, congressman crowd forward with their pockets full of industry money to offer half-way plans that make the issue more complicated and opaque, and whose true aim is to maintain the profits of the industry. Tom Daschle's ties to the insurance industry should preclude him from this position.

  93. I agree with the article. On the face of it, Senator Daschle should withdraw his name out of respect for President Obama. This early in the game, the appearance of "change" is as important as the real thing, whatever that may be.

    Funny, too, how public apologies are always forthcoming only when the individual has been caught out.

  94. I certainly do agree with the nyitmes editorial and there should be zero tolerance by President Obama on such issues. By insisting that Daschle step aside would be one way to getting us on the right track and certainly a replacement could easily be found....

  95. I rooted for Obama in his run for the White House and my fears have been realized: His "tenets" of "Change" and "Hope" are only that..until he drops Mr. Daschle, a typical beltway animal tainted by sleaze, as the nominee to lead HHS.

  96. Quoting the editorial:"We don’t know that his industry ties would influence his judgments on health issues, but they could potentially throw a cloud over health care reform."

    Well, we know that his judgements will be influenced. That is how human loyalty works. Gratitude towards the one who took care of your personal comforts is the hallmark of human loyalty. That is the reason the industry took care of him very well for so many yeats- hoping that one day he will be in a position of returning favours for them. It is not just that they could potentially throw a cloud, they will definitely.

    Believe me there will be no healthcare reform while Senator Daschle is at it's helm, just taking care of industry needs is all he will do because he is loyal to them more than he is to the public. Public didn't give him million dollars consultation fee. Public didn't give him free car and a driver for three years. Industry did. There is simply no way he will know that the costs of medical care in America are simply out of control. He will know only the industry's version - that to get world class healthcare, America must come up with cash, lifetime of savings, medicare dollars, and forefeit major assets.

    When I go to the accountant, he gives me a questionnaire which asks spcific questions on the use of a car for personal use and business use. Had Sen Daschle answered those questions honestly, he would have known that he owed taxes. Any accountant friend would have told him over coffee that he owed taxes on the car he is using. He didn't need to wait until the transition team looked into the matter.

  97. There's another reason. How are you going to justify the treatment of Hillary Clinton over 20k if you let Daschle go over this sum? The GOP can't do it.

  98. It seems we are discovering politicians are all quite the same - less than honest, with personal gain coming in first before the country's best interests. I feel disenchanted by Mr. Obama appointing tainted politicians, but perhaps there are no honest people left to choose from. These 'tax oversights' were not honest mistakes made by ignorant taxpayers.

  99. Given the circumstances (the 1099's and the in-kind nature of the income), Mr. Daschle's "honest mistake" defense is much more convincing than was Mr. Geithner's. InterMedia Advisors was billed directly for the car service. So, Mr. Daschle would not even have known the fair market value for tax purposes without seeking it. Had he been aware of the tax consequences, he probably would not have even accepted the "freebie." I continue to think Daschle is exceptionally well-suited for HHS and health reform czar. I don't see what the big deal is about his income from speaking engagements and advising health groups. Does anybody seriously think that Daschle would be a toady for the insurance industry if confirmed. Let's remember that Mr. Daschle didn't ask to become a D.C. free agent. Given his involuntary unemployment and lack of significan personal wealth at the time, what should he have done? WWYHD? (What would you have done?)

  100. I voted for President Obama because I believed his promise of "change you can believe in." Two weeks in, I’m wondering what happened to basic integrity. Timothy Geithner, our new Treasury Secretary, clearly made a decision to cheat on his taxes, and that’s apparently not a problem to the new administration. Now we have Tom Daschle, another tax cheat who we’re supposed to believe didn’t think he needed a decent CPA. I've emailed my representatives asking them not to confirm Mr. Daschle, but the fix is obviously already in. We had our moment of idealism and possibility, now it's back to business as usual.

  101. Another rookie mistake by B.O. This guy wants a team of political idealouges regardless of their many character flaws. He is on track to guarnatee a very short honeymoon.

  102. There is a larger issue here that is reflected in both the Daschle nomination and the Geithner nomination, and that is the general absence of civic morality in almost every aspect of our life, from Wall Street to our medical system to the legal profession and politics. If Mr Obama is serious about cleaning up Washington, he has to start at the top and make no concessions.

    The decline of civic morality has repercussions throughout society from our personal lives to the way we conduct business with other nations. We cannot pretend to a role of leadership if our own feet our stuck in the mire.

    Admittedly, it is difficult to find people who understand the system, the personalities and the issues and who aren't also part of the problem. Still, an astute outsider can sometimes be surprisingly effective if they understand the issues, are able to establish a reputation for common sense and bring direction and leadership to the issue. And an outsider can have the added benefit of not being tied to one of the interested parties, and therefore better attract the trust of all.

    Finding intelligent candidates with a sense of public mission, a willingness to work complex and interest-laden issues, and a reputation for integrity and honesty may take a bit longer, but it is crucial to turning America around.

  103. When you call for an IRS audit of every Senator and Congressmen I'll take you seriously. We all know most are crooks. We are currently hoping our dire situation will encourage them to do the right thing for the country for a change.

    Go ahead and pick another candidate for the job. Someone that understands the insurance rip-off, the way to deal with an intrangent government, has some understanding of how a new system might work and has absolutely no problems in their backgound. Scratch any one well connected in either Washington or the health care sector and you will not come back with a more honest broker likely to make decisions in favor of the citizens in this country. At least this one knows his way about both and is less likely to make things worse. Apparently that continues to be the best that we can expect these days.

    The country doesn't trust anyone in public office anymore. Show us some results. We aren't looking for a role-model for citizenship, we know how to pay our taxes, so you can drop your moral views and start evaluating competence.

  104. I'm no saint, but, when I've been self-employed and had to pay tax bills, I've made arrangements to do so, and I couldn't wait to wipe the financial slate clean. Granted, I'm a bit obsessive about taking care of all kinds of obligations, but, as long as I've had to pay taxes in order to fulfill my role as a citizen, I have. Why don't people like Geithner and Daschle feel the same burden and compunction? My gosh, they should be setting standards of citizenship for the rest of us! Of course, our fearless leader, President Obama, is not exactly taking the high ground, either. He's decided he wants these fellows as his sidekicks, and he will not be moved, it seems.

    One more thing: I was probably a Democrat in utero, if such can be, but that doesn't mean that I'm satisfied with the turn of events in the Cabinet selections. Au contraire, mes amis.

  105. 1. Stop saying Holder pardoned Rich. President Clinton was the only one with "absolute power" to pardon anyone, not Holder.

    2. Daschle is absolutely perfect for pushing thru healthcare which as someone noted will be a knife fight. He was a public servant for 30 years and I dont begrudge him earning money as long as I DONT HAVE TO BAIL HIM OUT or pay him. He actually paid the US, now that is novel considering the banks. He and Biden were always my favorite senators. I couldnt vote against him.

    3. I am not sure who would be as good. Frankly I would rather sacrifice Geithner as I really dont think the global economy can be fixed in 4 years which will be too late for Obama. I would still vote for him as I realize what a fix we are in, but most would not. I have lived a long time and 25 banks failing in one year with more to come this year has never happened in the long time I have been alive. We are all screwed.

  106. Anyone who has spent time navigating claim forms or meandering through the American health care system will understand that it is a complicated business. It is far more complicated than the tax code. Whoever takes the job Mr. Daschle was nominated for will have to pay attention to the details, to make sure that the final plan truly improves on what is available now, with the right incentives for health-care professionals and the right benefits for Americans. If Mr. Daschle cannot even navigate his own taxes with professional help, how can we rely on him to put rebuild our national health care system? By failing to pay attention his taxes, Mr. Daschle has already shown us that he lacks the skills needed to lead the reform. He should take this opportunity to bow out, and spend his time looking for other ways to help America rather than defending his questionable tax record.

  107. Such a land of opportunity!

    Even if you are a tax cheat, you can be lifted to the heights of prestige and power; with the president's blessing, no less!

    Even if you are ethically challenged, Washington or Wall St. has a place for you!

    The masses continue to wonder -- why are laws enforced for the lowly but not for the mighty?

  108. The senator's tax issues are sufficiently severe to warrant a call for his withdrawal. However, I question what standards, if any, the Times uses to determine if industry ties also serve as independent variables leading to his call to step down.
    It is close to exactly backwards to desire someone with no ties to the health-care industry, as if the understanding of the problems from the company perspective makes someone less qualified, rather than more.
    In the Times' call for the nomination of a cloistered monk (or nun, let's be fair), they imply either that Daschle should not have sat on the Mayo clinic board, or, if sitting, should have not signed off on a company position in favor of killing a potentially obtrusive railroad project. Before criticizing Daschle for this, the Times should arrive at, and then apply, a credible standard on conflicts that would not force everybody into the corner singing chants to themselves.

  109. a year from now, if the Obama Administration really is able to make great strides in providing universal health care coverage, the issue of catching and voluntarily paying back taxes will be forgotten.

  110. Thank you for your editorial. I completely agree with it. But it would have been stronger if you had put forward a few alternative names who, in this war for a modern health system in the US, would be just as good soldiers as Tom Daschle.

  111. I'd hate to lose Daschle's experience and expertise, which will be crucial in the coming fight over universal health care. That said, the sheer amounts involved here are troubling. Exactly what does it take to prompt IRS enforcement action or inquiries about tax evasion? It's also true that confirming two consecutive top officials with tax problems only confirms the opinions of the most jaded that -- as Leona Helmsley put it -- taxes are for little people.

  112. In order to marshal the backing of the American people for programs necessary to repair our economy and to implement change, President Obama needs credibility. Keeping Tom Daschle as a nominee for an important cabinet position seriously damages that credibility.

    If Daschle will not do the right thing and step aside, the President has to withdraw his name.

  113. You're right in asking Daschle to step aside. In the absence of his willingness to do so, President Obama should honor his own ethics mandate and ask Daschle to withdraw. From reading numerous progressive articles in sources beyond the Times, I know that there are other well-qualified individuals out there with the right people-oriented priorities who would be capable of doing a good job.

    Another more practical reason for having Daschle step aside is that it will remove one more stone from the Republican arsenal of Obama bashing.

    Do the honorable thing, Daschle, remove yourself from the political stage. You may be an otherwise decent man, but your ethics are deplorable in a time when we need a return to honesty after eight years of deceit.

  114. Tom Daschle needs to be confirmed. The American people elected Barack Obama President of the United States of America and not the New York Times Editorial staff.

    Lets remember the NYTs endorsed going to war in Iraq and never asked the tough WMD questions early in the Bush Administration, if they had raised hard questions think of the tens of thousands of lives and the $1 Trillion treasure that could have been spared but instead now bring us this utterly and complete train wreck to destroy the future lives of our nation.

    It should also be recalled from history that the NYTs endorsed Wendell Willkie over FDR and Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman.

    Not so fast NYTs with your double speak insinuation trying to paint Tom Daschle as a lackey for United Health Group, Mayo, and company on the one hand plus at that moment trying to be free of guilt by association saying, “We don’t know that his industry ties would influence his judgments on health issues.”

    Get back to the big picture; it was Tom Daschle’s integrity, honesty, and statesmanship as the prime Senate architect who crafted the $150 Billion US Treasury’s surplus that President Clinton left his successor. Tom Daschle knows how to win the big game and Health Care for all Americans is it!

  115. I absolutely agree that Mr. Daschle should step aside. President Obama has made a very poor choice. If you or I were to owe $125,000+ in back taxes, we would not be able to compose an email since we would be behind bars. Most disheartened.

  116. 'Bout time NYT that you balked at the hypocrisy of your chosen party and president. Democrats have declared that paying taxes is a moral duty. Oh yeah? For whom? Not for Rangel, Geithner, now Daschle all of whom get a free pass from Obama. "Yes we can" cheat on our taxes - and the poor stiffs of honest taxpayers - and get away with it.

  117. Having a requirement that a cabinet secretary have actual working experience in the mission of that specific department is a good thing. How does one acquire working experience in the mission of the HHS?

    CEO of a hospital, CEO of a HMO, or CEO of a Pharma / Device Company. A university professor or a lawmaker is

    an observer. So discluding anyone who actually has real

    experience dealing with the issues at hand in real time really cuts down on the applicant pool.

  118. Daschle must step aside. End of discussion.

  119. Promises, promises...
    Campaigning is not governing, and by promising so much Obama is bound to disappoint. He will be held to the higher standard he ran on and used to separate himself from his business-as-usual opponents. After 130+ votes of "present" and a two year campaign, it is time for him to take a stand and lead.

    President Obama, your actions now will speak louder than all your words and speeches put together. Will you do the right thing?

  120. If Tom Daschle doesn't withdraw his nomination, President Obama should take the decision. After all, the new president cannot afford to have such tainted people in his administration and then claim to have brought about "change" in Washington.

  121. Failing to pay taxes for what most American tax payers would consider a luxury is reprehensible, but by far the bigger issue is Mr. Daschle's ties to the health care industry. I don't believe in guilt by association, but it should also be noted that Mr. Daschle's wife is a payed lobbyist supported by drug and medical insurers. Isn't this exactly what we don't want? How can you have health care reform when the so called reformers are part of the problem? Time for President Obama to simply say enough and go back to the drawing board. Surely there are qualified people out there that don't have a vested interest. Unbiased individuals, that can spearhead the health care reform that our country so desperately needs. This spoken by an individual from the far left of the political spectrum, but one with an open mind.

  122. Obama - There must be a price for tax non-compliance. And his connections are troubling. Find somebody else.

  123. I agree with the NYT, Tom Daschle should go. He is the typical example of Washington's lack of integrity.

  124. When my accountant prepares my tax return, he doesn't just take the 1099 and W2 forms and run them through the computer. Instead, he gives me a questionnaire, which includes a question about use of company cars, etc.

    Did Daschle get such a form? If so, did he answer it correctly? This is not a judgment call - it is an omission, pure and simple.

    Even if every fact is in Daschle's favor, he has to withdraw for the good of Obama, the Democratic Party, and the Country. He is not "essential" and we have to send a message that this type of behavior, whether on Wall Street or in Washington, is just not acceptable any more.

    And, Obama should retain a good tax accounting firm to conduct a 10 year audit on every prospective nominee before his or her name is announced.

  125. Yes, Editors, withdrawing his name would be in the best interest of the nation, Mr. Obama, and even Sen. Daschle. Since I posted on this yesterday, there's no point re-posting here.

    http://community.nytimes.com...

    Your editorial is somewhat blunter than my post, but in the end the result is the same. It's sad that such a distinguished and accomplished senator could lose his moorings in just a few years. This speaks volumes about the pressures to have even a modest amount of income and wealth in America. No doubt there are millions who've cut a corner or two trying to maintain even a modest lifestyle in Washington, New York, and many other cities. Alas, keeping up with the Jones can have a steep price, and no matter what Mr. Obama and Sen. Daschle do, a price will have been paid.