Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 31, 2009


Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico - Tom Daschle, under fire for not paying taxes, made nearly $5.3 million in the last two years, records released Friday show. Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who President Obama has tapped to overhaul the nation’s health care system, was paid $220,000 to give speeches to outfits that have a vested interest in the work he would do once confirmed as secretary of health and human services.

Among the companies and groups paying thousands of dollars a pop to book Daschle were some that stand to gain or lose the most depending on the results of Obama’s efforts to enact universal health.

For instance, the Health Industry Distributors Association plunked down $14,000 to land the former Senate Democratic leader in March 2008. The association, which represents medical products distributors, boasts on its website that Daschle met with it after he was nominated to discuss “the impact an Obama administration will have on the industry.”

This week, the group began openly lobbying him, sending him a letter urging him to rescind a rule requiring competitive bidding of Medicare contracts.

Another organization, America’s Health Insurance Plans, paid $20,000 for a Daschle speaking appearance in February 2007. It represents health insurance companies, which under Obama’s plan would be barred from denying coverage on the basis of health or age.

There was a $12,000 talk to GE Healthcare in August, a $20,000 lecture in January to Premier, Inc., a health care consulting firm, and a pair of $18,000 speeches this year to different hospital systems, among other paid appearances before health care groups.

The speaking fees were detailed in a financial disclosure statement released Friday, which showed that Daschle pulled down a total of more than $500,000 from the speaking circuit in the last two years, and $5.3 million in overall income.

That includes more than $2 million in consulting fees from InterMedia Advisors, a private equity firm.

Jonathan Weisman, Wall Street Journal - Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, paid about $140,000 in back taxes and interest after questions surfaced during the vetting of his nomination, according to documents being prepared by the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Daschle made the payments to cover a luxury car and driver provided to him by an investment firm where he was an adviser after leaving the U.S. Senate in 2005, but which he didn't report as income, people familiar with the report said. The payments also covered unreported consulting income and unwarranted charitable deductions. The tax period covered 2005 through 2007.

Mr. Daschle told committee staff that he had grown used to having a car and driver as Senate majority leader and didn't think to report the perquisite on his taxes, according to staff members. Vetting Daschle


Anonymous Pete said...

Maybe it's time to page Dr. Howard Dean for a vetting and possible confirmation as Obama's Secretary of HHS as it looks like Daschle screwed up big time. But then "Rahm the Knife" would have to eat crow and those Chi-town boyz hate to do that. Since strategically, Dean was right and Emanuel was wrong, the Doc should have a shot but that's not the Chicago way. To paraphrase Sean Connery in "The Unouchables", " Just like a doc to bring a scalpel to gunfight". I'm just sayin'.

January 31, 2009 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard about this! http://jumpinginpools.blogspot.com/2009/01/us-mint-contemplates-putting-obama-on.html

January 31, 2009 4:41 PM  

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