Free Markets, Free People

An “Honest” Mistake

I’ve come to understand that Democrats don’t like tax cuts, but even more importantly, they don’t like paying taxes.  This time its Obama’s HHS nominee, Tom Daschle.  Apparently Mr. Daschle was absolutely clueless that he should have been paying taxes on a car and driver which was provided at taxpayer expense:

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.

Now I’d expect to be told this is just an “honest” mistake, much like Tim Geithner’s. And of course, the same people who defended the tax cheat who is now Secretary of Treasury, are defending Daschle:

“The president has confidence that Sen. Daschle is the right person to lead the fight for health care reform,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said. “In preparation for his nomination, Sen. Daschle and his accountant identified some tax issues and fixed them. They filed amended return with the IRS and made payments with interest. Sen. Daschle brought these issues to the Finance Committee’s attention when he submitted his nomination forms and we are confident the committee is going to schedule a hearing for him very soon and he will be confirmed.”

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., added: “Sen. Daschle will be confirmed as secretary of health and human services. He has a long and distinguished career and record in public service and is the best person to help reform health care in this country.”

When did Daschle “identify” these tax problems? It appears only after the distinct probability that Obama would win and that he’d be serving in Obama’s administration. Suddenly he was concerned:

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.

It wasn’t important in 2005, 2006 or 2007. It only became important when not paying them stood in the way of a possible job in the administration.

The Daschle spokesperson told ABC News that the senator, facing questions from the committee, has said “he deeply regretted his mistake. When he realized it was a mistake he corrected it rapidly.”

Yup, some real ethical giants are going to be running the ship of state aren’t they?

Hope and change.


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14 Responses to An “Honest” Mistake

  • This is yet another example of just how complex the tax system has gotten.

    Frankly, if this had happened to me, I would have been equally clueless.  I never knew you’re supposed to pay taxes when you “borrow” somebody else’s driver and car.

  • If I wrote off ChemLawn and a charitable deduction, would IRS understand it was just an honest mistake?  NOT!

  • My plan proceeds apace. This is clearly part of step 8.

  • How come no penalties? My bank sent me a correction late in the year. I had to file a 1040X and pay both penalties and interest.

    Next time, I’m going to invoke the Rangel Rule.

  • Richardson, Rahm, Geithner, Hillary and now Daschle.

    Not to mention Blago, Dodd and Rangle.

    This corruption…….it’s almost as if it’s a “culture” or something…

  • BTW-

    Notice the deafening silence? It must mean something positive is happening in Iraq today

  • I’d like to know how all of these congressmen have the money to be able to just “up and pay” their back taxes.  Aren’t the democrats supposed to be the party of the working man?  No working family I know has 40,000-100,000 lying around to help them pay anything. 

  • “Frankly, if this had happened to me, I would have been equally clueless.  I never knew you’re supposed to pay taxes when you “borrow” somebody else’s driver and car.”

    Yeah, but you didn’t spend 26 years writing and voting on the Internal Revenue Code, either.   The man was on the Finance Committee; he simply doesn’t get to claim ignorance on this one.

    What I’d really like to know is if Hindery filed the required 1099’s in this case.

  • Yes, nice to know that someone can just pay 100 frand like that.  Must have pulled it out of that big bag of payloa that they all have.

    Hey Sarcastic, is this more of what you expected??

  • Quote of the day on this from The Corner:

    No wonder Democrats are so callous about higher taxes—they don’t care about them because they just don’t pay ‘em.

  • OK, now why does the quote thingy insist on making the whole comment a quote?

  • OK, now why does the quote thingy insist on making the whole comment a quote?

    Don’t know. But now you can go into “edit” and change it.

  • Daschle stole more than most people make.  I’m beginning to think 2010 will be interesting.  It’s going to be tough to blame Bush for a government full of tax cheats and a raid on the treasury called a stimulus.