Amid controversy that they owed substantial amounts of money to the IRS in back taxes, two more high-ranking Obama administration appointees, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, withdrew their names for consideration for their respective posts earlier today.
Daschle, the former Majority Leader of the US Senate, had been nominated to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, the agency that will lead the charge for universal healthcare. It was reported that he owed over $140,000 in back taxes to the IRS for a car and driver he received as a lobbying perk from a wealthy New York investor. He paid the debt on January 2nd.
Killefer, the President’s pick for White House Chief Performance Officer, a new position slated to oversee transparency within the federal government, had a tax lien placed on her home as a result of not paying the unemployment taxes on one of her household’s nannies three years ago.
Ethical concerns have dogged the Obama administration from the outset, despite the President’s claim that his would be the cleanest and most transparent government in this nation’s history. Obama’s first nominee for Commerce Secretary, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, withdrew last month after he became the target of a federal pay-to-play investigation. Then, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted for attempting to sell the President’s old Senate seat to the highest bidder. Among the many allegations, Blago said that he was in negotiations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel to name Obama confidant Valerie Jarrent as the new Illinois senator in exchange for a cabinet appointment. Finally, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had a rocky confirmation for a while because of the fact that he owed $50,000 in back taxes to the IRS (Geithner was eventually confirmed).
For eight years conservatives had to bear the constant shreaking by liberals about cronyism and corruption on the part of the Bush administration. President Obama was supposed to be different. He was billed as the squeaky clean politician who would change the way politics was conducted in Washington. What have we gotten? Two federal pay-to-play investigations that resulted in the impeachment of the governor of the President’s home state and the withdrawal of the Commerce Secretary-designate, the sinking of three cabinet nominees for cheating on their taxes, violation of the President’s own ethics policy by appointing numerous lobbysists to sub-cabinet posts, and pork-filled mega-appropriations bill masked as an economic stimulus package.
CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!