Daschle Withdraws, As Does Killefer

Tom Daschle, plagued by questions about his failure to pay taxes on a car and driver that an equity firm provided for his use, has withdrawn his nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services. That decision renders moot this discussion by five tax experts about whether Daschle's erroneous tax filings should have prevented his confirmation (consensus answer: no).

Nancy Killefer announced earlier today that she would not serve as chief performance officer because of her own tax issues.

Harvey the Bum, who hasn't worked and therefore hasn't had to file tax returns for the last decade, remains available for a White House appointment.

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    I guess Leona was right (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by cotton candy on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:43:23 PM EST
    "only the little people pay taxes." Sigh.

    The Tax Code is not designed for compliance. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by steviez314 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:47:36 PM EST
    It is set up so they can "get you" any time they want.

    No one (especially if you itemize deductions) can survive a total compliance audit 100% clean.  

    Lets see (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:15:12 PM EST

    He was being paid $83,000 a month and chose not to report one month's income.  Thats not confusion over a too complex tax code.  Thats just good old fashion cheating.

    I would look hard at the excuse, but (none / 0) (#86)
    by scribe on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:36:10 PM EST
    if it held up that $83k a month would be the one I could have forgiven him for.

    The excuse, you might remember, was that the W-2 or 1099 (whatever form they used) was incorrect because the clerk who did the forms was out on maternity leave that month.  Thus, the story goes, the form itself (probably sent directly to his accountants) was incorrect and the result was "garbage in, garbage out" on his tax returns.

    Stupider things have happened.


    Perhaps so (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:47:00 PM EST

    But the idea that this was not discovered until last month is laugh lot loud funny.

    Anyone (none / 0) (#90)
    by Coral on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:42:37 PM EST
    who has salaried income only and does not itemize deductions, and many who do itemize, can survive a total compliance audit 100 percent clean.

    The problems come with complexity -- in sources of income, in itemized and business deductions, etc. So the people with the vulnerability to audit are usually people with high incomes -- the ones who hire accountants to do their taxes for them with the goal of paying as little as possible. In other words, the elite, which defines our political class.


    Wow... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:49:18 PM EST
    ...who knew I was an "elite" just because I have no desire to pay anymore to the IRS than I have to and I pay someone who's more knowledgable about taxes to do them for me!

    I would only define a few of my (none / 0) (#107)
    by coast on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:45:32 PM EST
    clients as being elite.  Most are middle income taxpayers who own there own business.  You don't have to have a high income for it to be beneficial to itemize either.

    Flat tax (none / 0) (#141)
    by diogenes on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 09:54:31 PM EST
    Isn't it time for a flat tax with no deductions, credits, or complexities???

    Possibly, but (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by coast on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:14:31 AM EST
    it will never happen.  Too many special interest groups are involved and it would strip away a considerable amount of power from congress.  The power to tax or not to tax is a very powerful tool in shaping policy.

    Delighted (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Spamlet on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:53:25 PM EST
    to see Daschle withdraw, even though he will probably reappear through the back door as some kind of "czar."

    Good point. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:00:14 PM EST
    He actually had TWO appointments -- HHS Secretary (requiring confirmation) and White House Health Czar (no confirmation required).

    I wonder if he's withdrawn from both or only the HHS position?


    Both (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:04:32 PM EST
    from what I've read...

    Daschle spokeswoman Jenny Backus said he also would step down from heading up the newly created White House office of health care reform - a title he was to have in addition to being HHS secretary

    Does he have to wait (none / 0) (#110)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:52:49 PM EST
    until Obama is out of office before he becomes a lobbyist? I guess he escaped the Obama ethics standards by the skin of his nose.

    Why would he have to wait? (none / 0) (#151)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:38:38 PM EST
    Obama can't force Daschle to do anything.  Can he?

    No mess, no fuss (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by DaveOinSF on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:53:41 PM EST
    You have to love the irony of this CDS-based swipe at DKos from back in November.

    Notice that with both Holder and Daschle, President-elect Obama has apparently offered the post, and the post has been accepted. No mess, no fuss.


    No mess, no fuss indeed.

    Listening to Gibbs' daily press (5.00 / 8) (#16)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:54:43 PM EST

    You all will be happy to know that the difference between Geithner and Daschle is that Geithner got through the process - committee approvals and full Senate confirmation, and Daschle did not.

    And Obama has confidence in the vetting process.

    One of the first questions?  "Are there any other nominees with tax problems we don't know about yet?"

    "If President Obama has set new standards for responsibility, why wasn't he the one to ask for Daschle to withdraw?"

    "If Daschle had not withdrawn his nomination, would President have let it stand?"

    Gibbs is going to sweat through everything he's wearing.

    I might shed a tear if I did not (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:57:04 PM EST
    expect Gibbs will write a kind of tell all book and make a lot of money.

    Aside from the fact that (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by hairspray on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:12:13 PM EST
    Gibbs provides no substance, he is a slow monotone speaker. It is really hard to listen to him.

    I had to shed a smile (5.00 / 3) (#127)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 06:03:59 PM EST
    if y'all remember the Daschle is so honorable compared to the Clintons stuff.  I know...I know we are united now.  But just the same.  

    You funny! (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:13:54 AM EST
    Notice he didn't (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:59:34 PM EST
    answer, or even seriously try to distract from the fact that he wasn't answering, the question about whether any other appointees have tax problems.

    IMHO, they need to replace Gibbs, and fast, with somebody less oily and a teensy bit more forthcoming and believable.  His briefings have been indistinguishable from Bush administration press secretary briefings.  Except Gibbs has less actual personality than most of the Bush people had.

    Yech.  Bad, bad public face for Obama.


    I listened in the car on the way (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:46:27 PM EST
    back from lunch, and predicted to myself he would be the first to go. He does not do a good job at all, IMO. I'm sure he's a smart guy, but why would you put someone up there who is verbally so slow on his feet?

    That's been the (5.00 / 3) (#113)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:55:49 PM EST
    Obama way right from the get-go. He and his don't answer the tough questions, they simply talk about whatever they want to instead. Soon we will probably get a sermon on how judging others behaviors and mistakes are a character flaw the general public needs to work at eliminating.

    Ew. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Fabian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:19:20 PM EST
    Haven't seen a presser yet.  Maybe it's time for me to start.

    One is plenty (5.00 / 5) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:27:54 PM EST
    to give you the idea.  They've all been nearly identical so far-- little actual information, questions not answered much if at all, instead endless repetition of platitudes about "what the American people expect" and the like, blah, blah, blah, all delivered, to my ear anyway, in the tone of a 2nd grade teacher to a classroom full of not very bright children on the verge of thinking about maybe some day becoming unruly.

    Stall them, just say something (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Fabian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:31:59 PM EST
    make it sound good, fill the time.

    Geez.  What happened to great Obama PR schtick?  Aren't they on the payroll anymore?  Shouldn't Axelrod be helping out here?


    Looks to me like Axelrod (none / 0) (#173)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:15:06 AM EST
    is the man behind the message, not the messenger.

    He created Kerry's ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:00:36 PM EST
    morph Dean into Obama '04 ad.  This is the least of the penance he needs to do.

    What happened? (5.00 / 7) (#19)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:57:13 PM EST
    I have to admit, this really surprizes me. The Obama camp ran a very slick primary campaign. They didn't seem to miss a trick.

    These cabinet picks have been all over the place with none of the professional approach that was constant during the campaign.

    Then the unveiling of the stimulus package really did me in. Marketing has been Obama's stock and trade. Why they allowed this bill to be just thrown out there without a strong marketing plan to sell it before the Republican's could trash it is beyond me. I hope that it wasn't an effort to show post partisanship. If that's the case the Republican's will step on him for the next four years.

    The media (5.00 / 10) (#44)
    by mogal on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:22:16 PM EST
     "ran a very slick primary campaign" for Obama!
     That seems to be over and we are seeing what happens when he has to run his own offence and defence.

    You've got that right (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by BernieO on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:37:07 PM EST
    I kept telling people that anyone can run a "great" campaign if the media loves them. Now that the Republicans have ratcheted up the criticism and the media is getting tough the Obama camp is not responding well.

    Already the polls show support for the stimulus is very weak.  This is Obama's most important initiative yet only about 38% are in favoor last I saw. The big complaint is that it is too expensive showing that Obama and the party have failed to explain to the public why we have to spend now to get demand going. Meanwhile the right is using their well-oiled propaganda machine to get their seemingly reasonable talking points out.


    Not true. (5.00 / 6) (#94)
    by TChris on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:49:12 PM EST
    Nate Silver addressed the myth that support for the stimulus is weak in this post.

    Hang in there,TChris (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by JThomas on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:02:34 PM EST
    knocking down the misinformation as fast they these ''loyal democrats'' can set them up.

    You are like a voice in the wilderness here,TChris. Thanks.


    As far as I can tell (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by sj on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:28:45 PM EST
    BO's career has largely consisted of running for the next office.  Executing the office he currently held wasn't as much of a priority.  That means all his efforts and experience have been on the campaigning side of things.  

    I'm actually not surprised.  At this point, anyway.  I will be surprised if it turns out that he's not up to the steep learning curve required to do his job.

    Or then again, maybe I'll just start to wonder what his "real" goal is.


    Murphy's Law? (none / 0) (#137)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 09:45:38 PM EST
    I know we're supposed to be all positive here, but I am getting scared.  Do we have Murphy's Law in action here?  Has the President reached his level of incompetence?  How could he fully support Daschle yesterday and then today announce that he had screwed up?  

    Today was horrible.  Two withdrawals and then Judd  Gregg.  JUDD GREGG!!!  WHY???  I cannot imagine what the President was thinking.  Bill Richardson is looking better and better, but then I always did like him.  He sure as heck beats a conservative republican in the cabinet!  

    Obama needs help.  This is a mess and an embarrassment.  


    That's not Murphy's Law (none / 0) (#146)
    by cymro on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 10:48:28 PM EST
    The idea that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence" is the Peter Principle. Murphy's Law refers to the idea that "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

    OOPS, My mistake! (none / 0) (#152)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:42:13 PM EST
    You are right, I was thinking of the Peter Principle.  Thanks for letting me know.  Sorry all.  

    In any event, I hope that our President has not reached his level of incompetency.  Boy, do I wish that.  It's so very important that Obama do a good job.  


    Daschle needed to go (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Realleft on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:12:30 PM EST
    and is gone.  That should be seen as a sign that it's not all smoke and mirrors, empty campaign slogans, but I imagine  the urge to criticize will remain stronger for some.

    To those who say Obama should have announced this - be real - allowing people to announce their own withdrawal rather than publicly denouncing them is not only respectful, it is good politics. Not only in terms of media and opposition players, but insiders - Obama inherited much machinery and staff from Daschle and it would sew internal discord to publicly renounce him.

    Interesting (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:13:43 PM EST
    So it's about real governance and not about politics, except to the extent that it actually is about politics.

    Love it. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Realleft on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:52:29 PM EST
    Could it be about both? I didn't say there wasn't any smoke and mirrors and empty slogans, but some of the posts I read seem very black-or-white.

    I don't know, I'm happy with some things, not with others.  The theme of some posters who never liked Obama seems to be to find a way that everything is an example of his failings, and some people who love Obama seem to find a way to make everything he does seem good.

    I'm still pissed about FISA. Not real happy about some other things either.  Still, the little ups and downs and ins and outs of everyday politics don't really show much either way to me.  Obama put up some people who may be okay to generally decent and he owed favors to, and when they got flushed out in the review process, they were let go.  Not sure the damage or reflection on Obama is any worse this way than by having avoided putting up supporters in the first place, which is costly in its own way.  Batting .300 in baseball is pretty good, not sure what the hit rate should be for politics.


    I confess (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:13:01 PM EST
    I honestly have no idea about some aspects of the tax laws, and I might not find out the truth until I get nominated for a Cabinet post.

    If I pay the neighbor's kid 10 bucks to mow my lawn, am I supposed to issue him a 1099 at the end of the year?  What if I pay some nice lady $50 to come by my apartment once a month and straighten up?  Is there any kind of de minimis concept here?

    OOOOH (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:19:47 PM EST
    Steve M <sm>could be</sm> paying an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT to straighten up his house. Why does Steve M hate America?!!!!

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:22:39 PM EST
    the question of whether I am required to ask that nice lady - or, for that matter, the neighbor's kid - to provide proof of her eligibility to work is yet another one I don't know the answer to.

    No (none / 0) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:33:44 PM EST
    You're only supposed to get into 1099s if you pay them more than I think it's $600 in a year.  (Unless they've raised that just recently, that's a number that hasn't changed in a very long time.)

    When you're obligated to pay an employer's SS share, I have no clue.  I'm self-employed, make way more than $600 annually from most of my clients, yet I'm responsible for the entire FICA hit.  As far as I can tell, a once-a-week cleaning person is just as much a self-employed freelancer as I am, yet my understanding is that people are technically supposed to pay the employer's SS share.

    So I'm not clear where that line is drawn.  But no, you don't have to do a 1099 for the kid who shovels your front steps unless you pay him over that magic $600 annually.


    You pay the employer share of FICA (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by coast on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:04:28 PM EST
    when the person you are paying is considered an employee (you give them a W-2) rather than a contract worker (you give a 1099 if payments are greater than $600 for the year and they are not a corporation).

    THen why are people (none / 0) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:33:06 PM EST
    technically supposed to do W-2s and pay FICA share for once-a-week cleaning people, as I understand they are (even if almost nobody does)?

    As with anything with the (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by coast on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:39:46 PM EST
    internal revenue code, it depends on the facts.  If the person meets the criteria for being an employee (there are several) then the home owner should get the proper forms completed (I-9, W-4 ect.) and properly withhold and submit withholdings and taxes.  If the maid is cleaning other homes, then an arguement can be made that the maid is a contract worker (1099), again it really depends on the facts.

    This is why... (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Crosby Kid on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:20:16 PM EST
    you should always pay people in banana bread and homemade knitted goods. Who is going to begrudge someone a cache of nice woolly socks? No one.

    As fun as that would be (none / 0) (#56)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:29:49 PM EST
    I believe that is still considered "income" and is therefore, taxable. (See:  car and driver for Daschle).

    I understand. (5.00 / 0) (#170)
    by Crosby Kid on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:08:32 AM EST
    I just think that the newspapers would feel ridiculous splashing "Wooly Sock Scandal" aross the front page. Well, except for the New York Post.

    Sorry...just a little levity.

    I actually had to read up on all this quite a bit as it regards 501(3)(c) charitable organizations. Technically, even Girl Scouts receiving camp dollars for selling cookies or school kids earning plastic incentives for selling raffle tickets do not qualify as de minimus fringe benefits. It counts as personal income. Although, who's going to go after a Girl Scout?  


    Yes. . . (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:23:14 PM EST
    there's a threshold ($600 or $900, can't remember) above which you are, in theory, required to issue a 1099 or other tax document.  Not just in theory, I guess, that's the law.

    Yep. $600, iirc. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:28:57 PM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#136)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 09:38:11 PM EST
    I've been feeling a little (very little) guilty for paying the neighbor that mows my lawn in cash. I figured there must be a cutoff of some sort for babysitters and stuff like that. I think I'm under the limit, but Ill do the math.

    Federal taxes (none / 0) (#61)
    by wasabi on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:34:00 PM EST
    In 2008 the threshold limit requiring you to pay taxes on your employee was $1600/year in earnings.  States have their own thresholds.  NY state is set (I think) at $500/qtr.

    There's a maximum amount, which I forget, before (none / 0) (#165)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:13:03 AM EST
    you have to pay someone employment taxes.

    What a sideshow. (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by wurman on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:13:47 PM EST
    It appears as if these nominees were vetted & the Obama executive circle decided to send their picks up on the hill anyway.

    Arrogance?  Noblesse oblige?  Dismissive attitudes?

    Looks kinda' dumb, for sure.

    There once was a man named Daschle (5.00 / 10) (#48)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:25:15 PM EST
    Who politically is not very facile.

    He was name for HHS.

    It created a mess.

    Because he found paying taxes a hassle.


    Are you auditioning to MC (5.00 / 5) (#73)
    by oldpro on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:13:06 PM EST
    the Annual Correspondents' Dinner?

    Heh. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:32:55 PM EST
    I bet Howard Dean pays his taxes. (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by scribe on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:26:20 PM EST
    How does Gibbs (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by coast on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:58:19 PM EST
    stand up and say with a straight face "The bar that we set is the highest that any administration in the country has ever set".  Just yesterday they were standing behind Daschel 100% and never asked him to withdraw himself.  That's not setting a bar, that's facing reality.

    It's damn crowded here (5.00 / 5) (#77)
    by oldpro on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:18:15 PM EST
    under the bus.

    No room!  No room!

    Somebody needs to add to the fleet...could be part of the stimulus package, I guess.  (Make 'em hydrogen powered, please).

    Not my bus (5.00 / 5) (#87)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:36:27 PM EST
    Daschle doesn't get to come under my bus, thank you.  He was the mechanic who got the bus running in the first place.  He can't come under now.  Strap him to  the top in a nice carrier, ala Romney's dog, but he can't come under.  No room anyway.

    Obama: "Don't make me pull this bus over (5.00 / 0) (#132)
    by Spamlet on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 07:20:10 PM EST
    and throw you under."

    I would have thought (none / 0) (#80)
    by sj on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:28:18 PM EST
    that he got his own rock-star bus.  No?

    Yeh, his own bus, with driver (5.00 / 5) (#111)
    by Cream City on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:53:16 PM EST
    and all paid for him by the health care industry?

    Or maybe they're his roadies.


    Interesting that so many who hitched their (5.00 / 5) (#78)
    by esmense on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:22:48 PM EST
    fortunes to Obama's wagon have been, one way or another, denied the rewards they hoped for; Kerry, Richardson, now Daschle and perhaps the Kennedy's and their hopes for the launch of a political career for Caroline.

    I think they get (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:37:01 PM EST
    their own bus to be under.

    Daschle was not worth the headache. (5.00 / 4) (#83)
    by vicndabx on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:32:55 PM EST
    Killefer's transgressions seemed much more in line w/what the average American might go thru and were handled long before she was nominated.  Attacks on her could've been handled w/some aplomb and turned against the opposition.

    How 'bout a twofer? (5.00 / 4) (#104)
    by Sweet Sue on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:35:35 PM EST
    If Obama is really smart, he'll ask Bill Clinton to be the health Czar. After all, Bill is the second most "vetted" pol in the US.

    John Nichols over at The Nation (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by esmense on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 05:36:47 PM EST
    delivers the ultimate low, parting blow to Daschle; "Daschle was always a better fit with Bush's administration than Obama's."

    Well, Obama is taking the blame for the Daschle (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Angel on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 06:02:36 PM EST
    debacle.  He said "I screwed up."  Glad he's taking responsibility, sign of a mature adult, unlike the last inhabitant of the white house.

    After the last 8 years... (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 07:01:05 PM EST
    ...I find that refreshing.  A President that can bring himself to say...

    Obama told NBC "I'm frustrated with myself" for unintentionally sending a message that there are "two sets of rules" for paying taxes, "one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks."

    "I take responsibility for this mistake," he told Fox News.

    Haven't decided if his doing it on Faux is a good thing or a bad thing yet.


    BiPartisanship (none / 0) (#144)
    by squeaky on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 10:17:39 PM EST
    doing it on Faux

    He had refused them for a while. Now it serves his purpose.


    He didn't realize that yesterday? (none / 0) (#138)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 09:48:45 PM EST
    What changed today?  

    Today? How long was Geithner's (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 10:21:14 PM EST
    nomination pending with the tax problems public knowledge?  Obama did nothing.  Nothing.

    How long has the Daschle situation been brewing in the public arena?  Obama knew about the tax payments since before Obama was sworn in, and what did he do?  Nothing.

    Did he ask Daschle to withdraw?  Not according to Gibbs - no one in the WH pressured Daschle.  So, what would Obama have done if Daschle hadn't pulled the plug?

    I'm betting...nothing.

    Obama says he screwed up - but he's not saying he should have withdrawn Daschle's nomination.  He really hasn't said much of anything except those magic words: "screwed up," "mistake," - you know, the same things Michael Phelps has been saying and that a lot of people want to reject as total BS.

    Obama is in so far over his head, it's frightening.


    My WORST fear................. (none / 0) (#153)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:44:44 PM EST
    Tom Daschle (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by makeupbag on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 06:24:03 PM EST
    In my opinion, Obama is calling out all the high profile tax cheats in Washington and causing all the others to scramble to pay their taxes as well before their names are called. This is a step in the right direction.

    I wish the IRS would conduct an audit on all of (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:46:06 AM EST
    them and then reveal the names of the tax cheaters so they can explain it to their constituents when they next seek re-election...

    Yes (none / 0) (#171)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:56:52 AM EST
    And if it goes well audit all their constituents too. Fair is fair.

    With the personnel decisions largely (4.80 / 5) (#5)
    by tigercourse on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:43:21 PM EST
    decided, I hope we can get back to the important work of screwing up the stimulus.

    No, That's Not What Sirota Wrote (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by daring grace on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:25:20 PM EST
    His main cited source was an article in the Telegraph (UK) the relevant meat of which seems to be these two passages (emphasis added):

    The White House has promised to review the protectionist proposals, passed last week by Democratic allies in the House of Representatives, which would ban the use of non-American steel in the $800 billion of construction projects...


    Europe is being helped by lobbyists on behalf of American companies like Caterpillar and General Electric...They are hoping that free trade sympathisers in the Senate commerce committee will strike out clauses...

    Sirota ends up saying he's concerned about certain senators on the Commerce committee, but also says "...it's still not entirely clear what Obama will end up actually doing..."

    A far cry from Obama being "about to gut" anything.


    Oh, 'Common Knowledge' (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by daring grace on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 04:54:11 PM EST

    I thought you were citing the Sirota piece as your reason for stating Obama was 'about to gut' Buy America which is what I was responding to, not what you perceive as common knowledge or what you're willing to bet on.

    I'll sure be willing to comment on things Obama does once he actually does them.


    Lou Dobbs had a very interesting segment (none / 0) (#160)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:59:11 AM EST
    on this very same subject last night - here's an excerpt of the transcript:

    DOBBS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as it calls itself, is waging an outright campaign of fear trying to block "Buy American" provisions in that so-called stimulus bill. Joining me now, two lawmakers leading a very important fight, trying to assure those buy American provisions are kept in the legislation. Congressman Dan Lipinski, Democrat of Illinois joins us, along with Congressman Don Manzullo, Republican, also of Illinois. Gentlemen, good to have you here.

    What is the effect of the buy American provision that you've put forward?

    REP. DAN LIPINSKI (D), ILLINOIS: Well, in the bill last week in the House, I wanted the Rules Committee to put a really strong buy American provision into the bill to bring it to the floor in amendment so that representatives would have a chance to vote on it, and unfortunately, that was not allowed by the leadership. Fortunately, the Senate has put some language in, but I'm not convinced that it's strong enough, and there's always a chance that it can be taken out.

    REP. DON MANZULLO (R), ILLINOIS: I would be satisfied with enforcement of the present buy American laws. And what Congressman Lipinski and I are trying to do is to impose transparency, to give the American companies an opportunity to bid, to get the procurement officers on their toes to realize that they have to follow these buy American laws that are already on the books.

    DOBBS: The Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the congressional leadership, which has already disavowed your efforts, Speaker Pelosi naturally calling it, quote, "trade restrictive." They say -- and I'd like to show this for all of our viewers, quote, "Without sales abroad and access to inputs, many U.S. workers would be out of a job," and now I think the Chamber of Commerce, gentlemen - well, rather than tell you what I think of them, you tell me what you think of that organization?

    LIPINSKI: Well, the chamber certainly doesn't do what is best for middle-class Americans and American workers. We all know what their real purpose is, to help the multinational corporations. It is sad to see that they have as much influence - and we have seen editorials and newspapers, the elites really do not like this buy American provision. But I tell you, in my district, 90 percent of the people say "I don't understand why it would not be there."

    DOBBS: Congressman Manzullo, your reaction to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

    MANZULLO: I don't think they really understand what we are trying to do. Let me give you an example.

    DOBBS: Sure, Congressman, Congressman, sure they do. They have been around. They bought a president for eight years, for crying out loud. They know what they're doing.

    MANZULLO: When I chaired the Small Business Committee, I found out that the Army was violating U.S. law by buying berets for American soldiers from China. We held a hearing. We stopped that. That is the type of things that I want to see stopped. If we just enforce the present buy American laws that are on the books...

    DOBBS: But how can -- what kind of...


    DOBBS: What does it say, gentlemen, what does it say about this country? If an organization that calls itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is opposed to the manufacturing of American products? Is opposed to putting money, stimulus money in the pockets of American workers and American businesses, particularly small business, which generates 80 percent of the jobs? What kind of -- what in the world is going on in this country? Are we that far gone, Congressman?

    LIPINSKI: I really think that for much too long, we have seen the middle class under assault in this country because the laws have been made to help the multinational corporations. The American people, it is time that they stood up. In this stimulus, we need to have strong buy American provisions. That's why Representative Manzullo and myself are sending a letter getting signatures. If you want to call your representative, please do that. Send a letter to Barack Obama who -- his press secretary said...

    DOBBS: How about Nancy Pelosi for crying out loud? She doesn't apparently know what country she is in.

    MANZULLO: Lou, I have voted for every free trade agreement. I have been here - this is the beginning of my ninth term...

    DOBBS: You and I are not going to get along well, Congressman, telling me that.

    MANZULLO: Just a second. Dan Lipinski has voted against every free trade agreement. What we are saying here is that at the minimum; at least let's enforce the present buy American laws that are on the books. Let's -- let's encourage the procurement officers at the state, local and federal level to buy American.

    DOBBS: Congressman, I have known you a long time. Can I raise my hand and just ask this? Can we move past the minimums in this country and start talking about the right thing to do, the intelligent, responsible thing to do, and start putting the country -- you have the guts to go out and put that buy American provision forward. Let's have the guts together to make it stick and mean something. What do you think of that?

    MANZULLO: That's what we did. We have done that several times. For example, it's federal law that when the Defense Department buys titanium, it has to be U.S. We stopped the importation of a lot of Russian titanium just by enforcing the laws that are on the books.

    DOBBS: Well, you left U.S. in Chamber of Commerce, didn't you?

    MANZULLO: Well, I don't, you know...


    And been running the economy (3.50 / 2) (#72)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:12:15 PM EST
    since at least November - when do things start becoming his responsibility if his fans give him credit for things that go well immediately?

    Fans? (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by squeaky on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:16:49 PM EST
    He is POTUS. You sound like the GOPers who argue that the only reason the economy sank is because Democrats got control of congress in '06.

    It is exactly the same thinking that goes behind a statement like:

    And [Obma has] been running the economy (none / 0) (#72)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:12:15 PM EST
    since at least November.



    Ever get (4.00 / 4) (#99)
    by JThomas on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:06:40 PM EST
    the impression that Limbaugh frequents this site?
    ya know....rooting for failure?
    Did ya hear the the whole economic collapse is also Obama's fault now? I mean, he was actually running for president when it started to fall apart which makes him responsible,right?

    Hmmm (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:16:41 PM EST
    Never listened to Limbaugh, but I do want to hold POTUS accountable - not sing hosannas and praise his name.  Seems that those who apologize and make excuses for everything Obama are the ones most like the Bushies....

    "And been running the economy (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by DFLer on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 07:38:45 PM EST
    since at least November"


    TARP run by Paulson and Bush till they left office...not Obama


    and don't forget Geithner! (none / 0) (#161)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:00:18 AM EST
    You kidding? (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:44:12 PM EST
    I'm sure Rick Santorum must be available to take HHS now.

    We should keep the position open, every (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by tigercourse on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:50:05 PM EST
    month the entire country has a lottery and the winner gets to be Sec. of HHS for that month.

    Funny (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:51:17 PM EST
    You know Judd Gregg won the lottery a few years ago, right?

    I hope he declared the winnings. (5.00 / 9) (#20)
    by tigercourse on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:57:23 PM EST
    Comment of the day (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Cream City on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:55:25 PM EST
    and there is tough competition -- in this post alone.

    so is the transition (4.66 / 3) (#8)
    by miguelito on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:47:28 PM EST
    an official train wreck yet?   sheesh

    No. n/t (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:09:26 PM EST
    well I have to admit (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by miguelito on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:53:20 PM EST
    that Secretary of State appointment went pretty smoothly

    Wow (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by daring grace on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 05:02:03 PM EST
    Do you even read the earlier messages of people you're responding to?

    This is someone who sounds like they AGREE with you.

    Note just above: "trainwreck".


    I don't think this poster. . . (5.00 / 3) (#122)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 05:16:59 PM EST
    has read any messages by anyone else including the messages he or she is responding to.  I'm not even sure he or she reads his or her own comments.

    Although painful and dissappointing. . . (4.50 / 2) (#1)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:41:54 PM EST
    I must admit that I failed to follow the postings on this blog for several weeks in January and therefore I am withdrawing from any further commenting.

    Just kidding! n/t (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:42:06 PM EST
    Ha. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:43:00 PM EST
    You'll have more time (5.00 / 9) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:42:33 PM EST
    to spend with your family, though.

    It should have been Obama (4.25 / 4) (#17)
    by Saul on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:56:05 PM EST
    that should have held a news conference saying that Daschle did not meet his criteria and therefore is out of here.    It should have not Daschele choice.  This  would have reinforced Obama commitment to accountability which is on thin ice.  

    Yes and no. (none / 0) (#38)
    by Fabian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:17:38 PM EST
    If Daschle withdraws on his own, then it doesn't look like Obama is caving in to pressure.

    Of course, it is best if the POTUS accepts the withdrawal graciously and has a new appointee ready.  (Look confident and prepared.)


    That's what we want for him to cave in. (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Saul on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:33:51 PM EST
    If Daschle withdraws on his own, then it doesn't look like Obama is caving in to pressure.

    We the people are putting the pressure on Obama to stick to his promises of accountability and therefore he should cave in to our pressure.  

    That's what its all about.


    Talk Left commenters seem much (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:49:59 PM EST
    more concerned about the Obama appointments and withdrawals than the Int. Herald Tribune and-or the Times of India.  I cannot read Danish, so no idea if they are following the details.  Afraid to go home++got to keep the faith for at least the first 100 days, right.

    Times of India (none / 0) (#118)
    by jedimom on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 04:40:27 PM EST
    ToI did do a post in the past few days on Obama waiving his lobbying rool for 17 appointments in less than 17 days, our press has not reported that number that I know of..:0)

    Sunday Times (of India) (none / 0) (#174)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:18:08 AM EST
    had several op eds on the subject of Iran, nuclear proliferation, and how Obama should deal with Iran in light of same.  Bottom line:  don't worry about the nuclear stuff--concentrate on looking at the region as a whole, in which case, Iran is a stabilizing force.

    Frankly, I'm still puzzled ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:51:41 PM EST
    as to why an "equity firm" gave Daschle a car and driver.

    Is this SOP?

    Need to change our tax system (none / 0) (#22)
    by democrat1 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:59:49 PM EST
    It seems a fairly large number of important people cheat on income taxes. So is it not imperative that we change the system, may be to a system based on consumption of luxury? May be we should think about it.

    Well. . . (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:02:37 PM EST
    since it's exactly the consumption of luxury that Daschle stands accused of not reporting, I don't see how that will help us avoid repeats of the current position.

    I am, however, amenable to the idea of somehow modifying the tax code to avoid so many areas of self-reporting.


    Then businesses (none / 0) (#43)
    by Fabian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:20:48 PM EST
    will moan and cry about the increased burden on them!



    I'm sure someone will suggest that (5.00 / 7) (#50)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:26:24 PM EST
    we just exempt the rich from paying any kind of tax; they could even have a special plastic card to swipe which would deduct the sales and gasoline taxes from their purchases.

    Unless all of the important people are struggling to prepare their own income tax returns by hand, I can't come up with any credible reason why people like Geithner and Daschle had such huge "oopsies" on their returns.  Do their accountants have a DADT policy?

    Daschle's lapse is particularly puzzling; anyone who had aspirations for a second career in the political arena ought to have been keeping the most scrupulous records and reporting every last penny - to the point where whatever info he got from Hindery, the question should have been, "does this include the value of the car and driver or do I have to report that separately?"

    Dumb, dumb dumb.


    I can understand (none / 0) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:30:48 PM EST
    Geithner's problem.  People who haven't been self-employed mostly don't realize that there's an employer contribution to SS because it's invisible.  I will never forget my own shock the first time I had to do my tax return as a freelancer and ran into the FICA.  I simply didn't believe for quite a while that they could possibly be expecting me to pay double SS taxes because I was self-employed.  I re-read the instructions over and over and over again trying to figure out where I was making a mistake before it finally sank in that, yes, indeedy, I did have to pay double SS taxes.

    Geithner's situation was made even more obscure by the fact that the organization sent him W-2s instead of 1099s.  My understanding is that the mistake he made is made pretty chronically by employees of international organizations like the World Bank.

    Daschle, OTOH, was trying to get away with something, IMHO.  Totally different, it looks to me anyway.


    Except (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:45:06 PM EST
    It was more than that.  According to the WSJ:

    The tax issue relates to Mr. Geithner's work for the International Monetary Fund between 2001 and 2004. As an American citizen working for the IMF, Mr. Geithner was technically considered self-employed and was required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for himself as both an employer and an employee.

    The IMF and World Bank reimburse employees, including U.S. citizens, for their U.S. income taxes. They don't, however, make contributions toward Social Security and Medicare taxes, which individuals are expected to pay on their own.

    In 2006, the IRS audited Mr. Geithner's 2003 and 2004 taxes and concluded he owed taxes and interest totaling $17,230, according to documents released by the Senate Finance Committee. The IRS waived the related penalties.

    During the vetting of Mr. Geithner late last year, the Obama transition team discovered the nominee had failed to pay the same taxes for 2001 and 2002. "Upon learning of this error on Nov. 21, 2008, Mr. Geithner immediately submitted payment for tax that would have been due in those years, plus interest," a transition aide said. The sum totaled $25,970.

    The Obama team said Mr. Geithner's taxes have been paid in full, and that he didn't intend to avoid payment, but made a mistake common for employees of international institutions. That characterization was contested by Senate Finance Republicans, who produced IMF documents showing that employees are repeatedly told they are responsible for paying their payroll taxes.

    As to why Mr. Geithner didn't pay all his back taxes after the 2006 audit, an Obama aide said the nominee was advised by his accountant he had no further liability. Senate Finance aides said they were concerned either Mr. Geithner or his accountant used the IRS's statute of limitations to avoid further back-tax payments at the time of the audit.

    Other tax issues also surfaced during the vetting, including the fact Mr. Geithner used his child's time at overnight camps in 2001, 2004 and 2005 to calculate dependent-care tax deductions. Sleepaway camps don't qualify.

    Amended tax returns that Mr. Geithner filed recently include $4,334 in additional taxes, and $1,232 in interest for infractions, such as an early-withdrawal penalty from a retirement plan, an improper small-business deduction, a charitable-contribution deduction for ineligible items, and the expensing of utility costs that went for personal use.

    The other cloud for Mr. Geithner involved an immigrant housekeeper whose work-authorization papers expired during her tenure working for Mr. Geithner. For three months, until she stopped working for the family to have a baby, the woman was working on the expired papers. An Obama aide said the woman reapplied for the papers and received them, and now resides legally in the U.S.

    The fact is - documents posted on the Senate Finance Committee web site show that Geithner filed signed forms to receive reimbursement from the IMF for taxes paid each year that he worked there. Geithner never paid the taxes after receiving the reimbursement.


    Right You Are (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by daring grace on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:47:31 PM EST
    I LOVE it when people tell me I'm so lucky to be running my own business because I'm my own boss.

    Welll, yeah, in a way. Except I often feel like, in fact, I have many. many bosses: Banks, underwriters, suppliers, clients, and the gov't (fed) the gov't (state) and the gov't (local).

    And then there are all these little 'extras' like self employment tax...

    Amazing after all these years I'm still a proud liberal, bullish on unions, and employer subsidized employee benefits, but I am.


    IMF paid employer-SocSec to Geithner (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by andrys on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:20:09 AM EST
    on top of his salary and he had to sign forms, something like 4 times a year, saying he understood he had to pay his own social security taxes and that he had received the company's employer-paid soc-sec $$ that he would then pass on to the IRS when doing his taxes.

      There's no excuse for what he didn't do.

      Add that he was audited for the 3rd and 4th years with IMF and got caught on that mistake and paid the backtaxes with interest.

      The excuse was he didn't know he should do that, despite his having signed papers often saying he realized he did have to do that.  

      THEN, after paying monies due after that audit for the 3rd and 4th years with IMF, he neglected to file revised forms for the first two years with IMF immediately preceding that period.

      ObamaTeam caught this and drew it to his attention that he hadn't, and at that point he paid up.  But ObamaTeam  used common sense.  However, they then ALSO knew he had intentionally not paid the first 2 years after knowing via the audit for the other 2 years -- and so he HAD known about those still-unpaid first two years after the audit.


    Those first two years never reported ... (none / 0) (#176)
    by andrys on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:29:04 PM EST
    I read today in Slate online that it's said there is a statute of limitations of 3 years.  By the time Geithner was audited and had to pay his social security taxes (for self-employment although IMF paid him that amount on top of his salary so he could pay this without it coming from his salary), he likely did not go back to correct the first two years, as by then they would have been past the time the IRS could claim them.

      The article said that expectations are higher for people in high-level government jobs and so the vetting team drew this to his attention and he paid it.  However, it could be that the IRS may return the new back-payment for the first two years because the IRS could not claim it after 3 years.

      This left his problem viewed as less serious than Daschle's
     1.  years of accepting a driver and a car from a company which had paid him over $2,000,000 for consulting and then
     2.  not reporting $83,000 income for one month, which his own business accounting would have shown him he did get.


    except that he was given the money by the IMF (5.00 / 2) (#163)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:08:40 AM EST
    to pay for them with an explanation for the payment. When I worked for Raytheon and they sentme and my husband to South Africa on a yearly assignment, they also paid for mine so that I wouldn't be burdened by double taxation in both countries.

    His explanation is so lame it unbelievable!


    Howard Dean (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:07:29 PM EST
    should be the first person they call

    The only question. . . (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:10:05 PM EST
    is what, exactly, they'll call him.  Nothing nice, from the treatment he's gotten so far.

    well frenemy (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:11:23 PM EST
    seems to be in vogue.

    According to one of the tax experts in the NYT (none / 0) (#42)
    by Prithimp on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:20:44 PM EST
    link above, Geithner paid the back taxes and interest but the penalties were waived. Is he correct about the facts if so is it SOP for the IRS to wive penalties for an average citizen ?

    You can always ask for the penalties (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:28:38 PM EST
    to be waived; sometimes they accept your reason and sometimes they don't, but it is not something reserved for - or granted only to - the "above-average" citizen.

    H&R Block made a mistake on my (none / 0) (#166)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:15:08 AM EST
    tax return back in 1981 and they charged me a penalty even though I did not do my return - no amount of explanation got the penalty waived and I still remember that it was considerable....

    to be waived (Returned, actually. You pay them and and ask for them back all at the same time.) some years ago for a mistake on my personal taxes and I was happily surprised when I got the money back.

    I've done the same thing for a mistake on my biz taxes a few months ago, no response yet...


    Do any of these people pay taxes? (none / 0) (#51)
    by Angel on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:27:35 PM EST
    This is getting to be really pathetic.  

    Why do you find it necessary (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:36:46 PM EST
    to grossly exaggerate?  All of these people pay lots of taxes.  I'm not defending their attempts to reduce their tax payments by sleazing around, but to say they "don't pay taxes" is ridiculous.

    Furthermore. . . (none / 0) (#64)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:48:57 PM EST
    it's not clear to me whether the car and driver issue was a genuine attempt to evade or not.  It could possibly just be a perq that no one realized was taxable.

    The $80 of unreported income, however, is harder to explain away.


    Make that $80K. n/t (none / 0) (#68)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:01:06 PM EST
    Exactly (none / 0) (#71)
    by eric on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:09:10 PM EST
    but when we talk about "avoiding taxes" it sounds way more scary.  I don't remember talking about republicans avoiding taxes like this.

    Wonder if Ted Stevens paid taxes on his illegal gifts?


    Avoiding taxes (none / 0) (#76)
    by TChris on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:18:10 PM EST
    is perfectly legal (i.e., structuring your finances in a legal way that avoids tax liability).

    Evading taxes is a crime.

    Screwing up with no intent to evade taxes (which seems to be the category into which Daschle falls, as do many taxpayers who make too much to file a 1040A or 1040EZ) is neither tax avoidance nor tax evasion.  It's just screwing up.


    Did Daschle think the car and driver (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:52:45 PM EST
    were free?  

    Part of his total compensation package, and he believed the tax info he received included that benefit?  

    Did he not have legal and accounting advice as he was entering into engagements with various individuals and companies?  A lawyer who drew his contracts or an accountant who reviewed them?

    It doesn't pass the smell test.  Geithner's explanations didn't, either.

    It may not have been intentional, but it was certainly sloppy.  And sloppy is not what I'm looking for in the person who is going to head up one of the most important Cabinet departments, that is presumably going to be taking on some of the most important issues that confront us.

    Gibbs said in his briefing today that no one from the WH called Daschle or put any pressure on him to withdraw - that it was totally Daschle's decision; he may think that's a good answer, but the perception is going to prove him wrong.


    Company provided vehicles (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 04:35:34 PM EST
    is an area I find few companies really understand.  Years ago I had a job where the company had some 40 sales people, all had a car supplied to them. Part of my job was to collect six months worth of driving logs from each person so we could calculate the % of miles they would normally drive the car for personal business. From that we calculated the value of the vehicle usage that would be placed on their W2 as income.

    I used to use (none / 0) (#102)
    by eric on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:23:02 PM EST
    a car service from time to time.  It never occurred to me to report it.  I was just doing my job.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:35:19 PM EST
    If you paid for it and then expensed it, that's a different story.  In this case, the car and driver were provided by a wealthy Democratic donor.  Daschle even said this today:

    "My failure to recognize that the use of a car was income, and not a gift from a good friend, was a mistake."

    Part of his tax problem also arose out of questionable charitable giving.

    Daschle had to redo his tax forms as well because he couldn't show that almost $15,000 in charitable contributions went to qualifying organizations, according to the panel's report. He and his wife, Linda, made $276,000 in charitable contributions during the three-year period being studied by the panel, Backus said.

    The committee is still looking into whether travel and entertainment services provided to the Daschles by EduCap, Inc., a nonprofit student loan company and its Loan to Learn program, as well as the philanthropic Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation and the nonprofit Academy Achievement in Washington, should be reported as income, according to the draft report.

    Work versus personal (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 04:44:09 PM EST
    Using a car service for your work is one thing, but Daschle's car and driver were used exclusively for personal use-- shopping trips, dinners out, blah, blah, blah.

    Gift or income? (none / 0) (#131)
    by BigElephant on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 07:13:55 PM EST
    But then you do need to determine if something is a gift or income...

    The tax code is darn complicated.  I love taxes as much as the next Democrat, but it's too hard to know what you have to pay, and what you don't.  My mom watches my kids a few times each week.  Is that taxable income in the form of a service I should be paying taxes on?  Is that something I'll only find out when I become appointed for some cabinet position?


    Taxes have to be paid (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:24:46 PM EST
    on gifts valued at over $10,000.  Everybody with any money knows that because they're always trying to figure out how to transfer $$ to their kids without anybody paying taxes on it.

    I agree the tax system is wayyyy too complicated and wayyy too many innocent people get into trouble because they can't figure the damn thing out.  The amount of time and/or money one has to spend just to do your taxes is criminal, IMHO.

    That said, don't be silly.  Of course your mother's baby-sitting isn't something you have to count as income and pay taxes on.  If you were to, say, swap baby-sitting with a neighbor for lawn-mowing, you'd technically both have to pay taxes on it.  But it's never enforced, although there have been barter exchange services shut down because of the liabilities involved, I believe.

    And yes, you need a tax accountant if you're dealing in anything other than penny ante stuff.  Daschle had one, but either the accountant was complicit (unlikely) or he didn't tell him about the car and driver because he clearly hoped nobody official would ever find out about it.


    Again... (none / 0) (#169)
    by BigElephant on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:44:14 AM EST
    Is it income or a gift?  If it's a gift, I think that a car and driver probably can be had for less than $10k/year (depending on how it is implemented).  

    And why isn't a mother's baby sitting income?  Something doesn't become non-income just because a lot of people do it.  I have heard of parents and grandparents refusing to babysit because they aren't being paid.

    My point is a simple one.  Given that the definition of income is so loosely defined, especially for services rendered, almost anything could be viewed as income.  The real question is simply who does the IRS/media decide to go after...


    The worse for Geithner was taking a business (none / 0) (#167)
    by suzieg on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:17:48 AM EST
    deduction for his kids' summer camp for 4 yrs!

    I find the month of income not reported (none / 0) (#157)
    by andrys on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:26:47 AM EST
    more understandable.  I think it was left out of his withholding statement.

      But if you were given a chauffer and car by a large company, at no charge, for years, I do think you would get a clue that it was payment of some 'kind' that needed to be reported.


    Let me rephrase it. Do they pay what they are (none / 0) (#65)
    by Angel on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:49:13 PM EST
    supposed to pay?  How's that?  

    That's great (none / 0) (#85)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 02:34:53 PM EST

    Sorry, I'm just getting terribly cranky about this stuff in my old age...


    A friend of mine wrote this today (none / 0) (#158)
    by andrys on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:28:20 AM EST
     "I am still grumpy because I didn't know paying taxes was optional.
      I am never going to seek high office. Can I stop paying taxes now?

    Get Daschle out of here... (none / 0) (#60)
    by Scuzz on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:33:57 PM EST
    Daschle was smart enough and no doubt had an accountant who was smart enough to know this could happen. He also has colected money from the industry he was to oversee.

    I thought Obama said that wouldn't happen.

    1099's are not required unless you pay over $600 and then it only applies to certain items. They are an attempt to prevent small guys from not reporting income, not to catch the big guys.

    FWIW (none / 0) (#106)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:41:04 PM EST
    Politico is reporting that possible replacements include former Vermont Gov. and DNC Chair Howard Dean, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).

    Are there really no non-politicians (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 03:50:08 PM EST
    that know something about HHS? I'm a little tired of all the politicians, myself.

    Though I guess someone from the health care profession would have industry ties that might be hard to swallow.


    Dean is a physician as well as a politican (none / 0) (#125)
    by denise k on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 05:48:54 PM EST
    I assume you are not referring to him.  In any event, if there is any hope AT ALL of changing health care laws, there needs to be a lot of politicking -- best done by politicians.

    He couldn't find a republican this time? (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:54:00 PM EST
    Or is he still searching for a real conservative like Judd Gregg?

    <Pardon the snark>


    Oh, well then (none / 0) (#123)
    by sj on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 05:30:00 PM EST
    It will probably be Sebelius.  Or maybe it will just be her name floated for a while with nothing coming of it.

    Please not Cooper. (none / 0) (#129)
    by caseyOR on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 06:40:19 PM EST
    He worked very hard to help torpedo the Clinton health plan back in '94. He was slimy then, and he is probably slimy now.

    John Kitzhaber is a former emergency room physician. I don't agree with some parts of his take on solving health care, but he has spent a lot of time, both in political office and since he left the governorship, trying to find a solution to the problem.


    Let's Start All Over (none / 0) (#133)
    by Blitz45 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 07:35:37 PM EST
    The Obama Administration to include himself needs to show to everyone their tax records. Who knows who was appointed, and somehow got away with it. The man is in Office for less than a month, and already two of his appointees, have tax problems. We need a change, right! what he was talking about probably, that we need to elect a black president. Yes we can, we did, what a mistake.

    Three have had tax problems (none / 0) (#142)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 10:02:39 PM EST
    Two withdrew, one was confirmed as Treasury Secretary and head of IRS.  Go figure.  

    Correcting my own post, It's 4 with problems (none / 0) (#175)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:54:00 PM EST
    I forgot about Richardson.  Four with money/tax problems.  wow.  That must be some kind of record.

    It's a good thing.. (none / 0) (#143)
    by SomewhatChunky on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 10:11:08 PM EST
    these non taxpayers are withdrawing.  It seems to me it would be pretty hard to make the case for raising taxes on anyone when a good part of your cabinet choose to just not pay em!

    Obama should not be wasting his goodwill and political capital on these type of things.  Get somebody else.

    Tax Evasion Super Bug (none / 0) (#147)
    by wickedlittledoll on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 10:50:14 PM EST
    Since the whole nominating Dems thing didn't work out too well thanks to a nasty outbreak of the tax evasion bug, Obama figures why not nominate a Republican and hope they prove a little heartier!


    Giddy? (none / 0) (#149)
    by squeaky on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 11:04:15 PM EST

    Daschle Withdraws (none / 0) (#156)
    by justus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:21:54 AM EST
    It appears the republicans are more interested in sulking and trying to determine the success of the new administration, than they are concerned about the health and welfare of the people. After eight years of failures and corruption on their part, how dare they! I expected they would give the new President a hard time, but this is ridiculous and pettey of them. Especially after this country has been left in such a disasterious state of affair. Basically, we don't have time for politics as usual.  

    How about the Treasury Secretary (none / 0) (#162)
    by booeng on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:07:13 AM EST
    The Treasury Secretary has tax issues too. He admitted the mistake of now paying the taxes. Why is he still in the Obama cabinet?