The Daily Snort

Remember Joe Biden’s campaign statement which implied paying higher taxes was patriotic?

“It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

Just when Timothy Geithner was about to fade from the daily news cycle, along comes HHS nominee, Tom Daschle to remind everyone of yet another Obama nominee with serious tax issues.

If paying higher taxes is the new definition of patriotism, then what does the willful refusal to pay personal taxes by both of these Cabinet appointees tell us about President Obama’s commitment to transparency and ethics in government?

After granting special ethics waivers for Bill Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Bill Corr as Deputy Secretary at HHS, the Obama Administration is poised to push for another tainted Cainet level appointment with Daschle. No word yet if another ethics waiver will be required for Daschle (he a lobbyist at Alston & Bird), or for his lobbyist wife, Linda. One thing is clear, if the Daschle nomination stands, the top two posts at HHS will be filled by men whose past dealings with money and power go against everything that Barack Obama promised in his historic campaign.

I reckon that bust on Mt. Rushmore will have to wait at least another week. Snort.

Update: from Glenn Greenwald, writing at Salon ……

Back in June, 2008, when Barack Obama violated his clear commitment to filibuster any bill containing telecom immunity by doing the opposite: voting for cloture on such a bill and then voting of the bill itself, it was — as Matt Stoller noted at the time — Tom Daschle who defended Obama’s behavior in The Washington Post, by invoking the two leading all-purpose, Obama-justifying clichés: “Those who accomplish the most are those who don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. Barack is a pragmatist.”

What Daschle (and The Washington Post) didn’t note, but Stoller did, is this:

The kicker of course, is that [Daschle’s firm] Alston and Bird did work lobbying on immunity for telecoms on FISA [they were AT&T’s FISA lobbyist – .pdf], even serving as a recruitment bed for the McCain campaign. And that’s what is really going on. Bribery.


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