ABC News tells us about the Senate Finance Committee report on Tom Daschle’s nomination:
The report indicates that Daschle’s failure to pay more than $101,000 taxes on the car and driver a wealthy friend let him use from 2005 through 2007 is not the only tax issue the former Senate Majority Leader has been dealing with since his December nomination prompted a more thorough examination of his income tax returns.
Mr. Daschle also didn’t report $83,333 in consulting income in 2007.
The Senate Finance Committee Report also notes that during the vetting process, President Obama’s Transition Team “identified certain donations that did not qualify as charitable deductions because they were not paid to qualifying organizations. Daschle adjusted his contribution deductions on his amended returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to remove these amounts and add additional contributions.” This adjustment meant a reduction in the amount he contributed to charitable foundations of $14,963 from 2005 through 2007.
And the President tells us that Wall Street bonuses are “shameful”? At some point, the hypocrisy level must rise high enough for even the most squishy Senators to say “enough.” There just aren’t any excuses for this. The number of tax cheats and the dollar value of their “errors” is becoming intolerable — at least one would hope.
But, of course, the Senators played dumb with Tim Geithner, accepting the lamest “I forgot” excuse for his tax “errors,” and passing him along to oversee the IRS and the U.S. Treasury. Perhaps this latest example of greed and mendacity is finally enough to stop the parade of tax cheats in their tracks. Tom Daschle isn’t essential to any pending economic emergency and his tax problems are really beyond the pale.
If the President doesn’t have the good sense and good graces to pull the nomination, the Republicans in the Senate might show they have a spine by mounting their first filibuster. Will the Democrats vote cloture and confirm Daschle? Let’s see which party embodies the values of ordinary Americans and believes in equal treatment for the powerful and the ordinary taxpayer.
In short, this would be a fine time to test just how new the New Politics are. We’ll see if the Senate can manage to figure that out.