Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
"Hey, whatever happened to Tom Daschle? Anybody seen him lately?"
"Ain't seen him in years, George."
The way things are shaping up, President Obama's cabinet will closely resemble that of Bill Clinton-a special prosecutor assigned for each secretary. Tom Daschle (former senator from South Dakota) is the latest cabinet nominee to get caught with tax problems.
I earlier wrote about Daschle's relationships with several firms in Washington, in which the Health and Human Services Secretary-designate walked like a lobbyist, quacked like a lobbyist, but was judged to not be a lobbyist-which Obama stated publicly that he didn't want in his administration. (it was all part of that "change" thing, you know.) Daschle, upon being defeated for re-election decided that instead of going home to South Dakota, he would hang around Washington and do business with all the friends he had met along the way.
Now we are learning that Daschle, in all his work for various and sundry outfits, neglected to pay taxes to the tune of $128,000. In addition, it comes out that he has received a lot of money in speaking fees from outfits that he would be overseeing as HHS chief. Want names?
America's Health Insurance Plans (two speeches for $40,000).
CSL Behring ($30,000)
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (16,000)
In addition, Daschle has promised that if confirmed, he will resign his job as an advisor for the Washington law firm of Alston & Byrd, LLP (2 million in earnings from that firm in the past two years-as an ADVISOR).
That's not all. Daschle earned 2 million dollars in consulting fees from Intermedia Advisors LLC of New York, which is an investment firm specializing in buyouts from Intermedia Advisors LLC in consulting fees. Of course, Daschle has promised to resign from that firm-if confirmed.
Daschle is also busy as a director of 5 firms. For example, he earned $250,000 as director of BP PLC.
(source: Orange County Register article dated 2-2-09 "Daschle fees raise red flag")
And you wonder why this guy never went back to South Dakota?
As things stand now, Daschle has paid up to the IRS (only after being nominated of course) and apologized for this "honest mistake". The Obama spokesholes are saying that Obama still stands by his man.
So Daschle will probably be confirmed and spend another 4 years in government then go back to the lucrative jobs as advisor, consultant, lobbyist, whatever you want to call it trading on his insider status in Washington. The nation's capital is a place where the corruption is now embedded. It is a town filled with climbers and other assorted clowns seeking wealth, influence, power (and don't forget the young chick- a-dees that come with all that). Barack Obama is smart enough to know he is not about to change that. Besides, it's a game he himself has learned to play.
In Mexico, a country we have always accused (rightly) of being corrupt, they at least know what to call it-corruption, mordida, whatever.) Here, on the other hand, we have legalized it for our political class.