Monday, February 02, 2009

Pay your taxes! Or not...

Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader and current nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, is the latest Obama pick to suffer public disclosure of tax problems. Will this hurt his chances for confirmation?

From ABC News - "Daschle Apologizes for Failing to Pay Taxes":

"...Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Health and Human Services Department, apologized Monday to the Senate panel that will decide his fate, saying he was "deeply embarrassed and disappointed" about failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes.

Determined to salvage his nomination, Daschle wrote a letter to the top leaders of the Senate Finance Committee in which he sought to explain how he overlooked taxes on additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and paperwork to support claims for charitable contributions.

Daschle recently filed amended tax returns for 2005-07 to report $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest.

"I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns," said Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader. "I apologize for the errors and profoundly regret that you have had to devote time to them."

Shouldn't be too much of a problem for Daschle though, right? Timothy Geithner (or, "that idiot Geithner", as Jim Rogers likes to call him) was confirmed as Treasury Secretary despite having similar tax problems, which only recently came to light.

But it's not like these guys won't have to pay back taxes and interest. They will. Plus, they must also face a media spectacle surrounding their actions, which can't be pleasant.

Still, you have to wonder how the average American feels about this, given the treatment they'd likely face if they were in Daschle's or Geithner's place. Would the IRS hear their humble apologies or would they instead be reamed out for their failure to pay?