Daschle nomination hits tax snag

Chris Rizo Jan. 31, 2009, 1:36pm

Tom Daschle (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -President Barack Obama's nomination of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has hit a snag amid revelations that the tort reform opponent has significant tax problems.

Daschle, who has vowed to aggressively pursue a retooling of the nation's health care system if confirmed, reportedly failed to pay more than $101,000 taxes on the car and driver a friend let him use from 2005 through 2007.

He also did not report $83,333 in consulting income in 2007, ABC News reported, citing a Senate Finance Committee report on Daschle's nomination.

The report noted that Daschle filed amended tax returns on Jan. 2 to pay $140,167 in unpaid taxes.

Obama also tapped the former South Dakota senator with helping him to overhaul the nation's health care system as leader of the new White House Office of Health Reform.

Speaking to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee earlier this month, Daschle told lawmakers he would promote health care reforms that are "aggressive, open and responsive to American concerns."

Daschle said that meaningful health care reform must increase access to care while containing cost.

To help cut costs and improve outcomes, Daschle, who lost his Senate seat in 2004, said input from Republicans is critical and very much sought.

"I really want to work in a collaborative way," Daschle told committee members. "It's the only way are we going to get this done."

According to the National Association of Manufacturers' tally of Daschle's voting record from 1999 to 2004, of the 10 identified votes, he opposed tort reform measures every time.

In 2004, Daschle won acclaim from the New York State Trial Lawyers Association for his efforts to block legal reforms.

Before he can become U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, Daschle must first be confirmed by the Senate Finance Committee.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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