Daschle Under Fire for Tax Troubles

Posted January 30, 2009 at 10:18pm

Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle failed to pay more than $140,000 in taxes — most of it stemming from the free use of a car and driver that had been provided to him by a Democratic fundraiser — multiple news outlets reported Friday evening.

Daschle filed amended tax returns and paid more than $100,000 in back taxes and interest earlier this month to correct the issue, Obama adminstration officials said Friday. The same administration officials said they believe Daschle’s nomination will move forward, despite the revelations of tax troubles.

Daschle’s confirmation had been moving slowly through the Senate, and the Finance Committee had been scheduled to convene in a closed-door meeting Monday night to discuss Daschle’s nomination.

Daschle, a former Senate Majority Leader, is now employed by the lobby shop Alston & Bird. He has responded to routine queries from the Finance Committee about his tax records and potential conflicts.

The revelation about Daschle’s tax problems comes on the heels of a high-profile dust-up with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who Finance Committee members learned had to pay $34,000 in back taxes the night before he was scheduled to sit for his confirmation hearing.

Committee rules require that Members receive seven days notice before a confirmation hearing, so Daschle likely won’t appear before the panel until the week of Feb. 9.