Jim DeMint became the first voice from the Senate to demand that Barack Obama withdraw the nomination of Tom Daschle for a Cabinet post at HHS. DeMint, who also opposed Tim Geithner for his tax failures, says that Senatorial comity has to be set aside to uphold the rule of law. Had Daschle been a politically-unconnected outsider, DeMint says, he would be hiring a criminal lawyer rather than a confirmation sherpa:
DeMint told FOX News that Daschle’s failure to pay $134,000 in federal taxes reflects a “problem with integrity” that the government cannot afford to tolerate.
“It’s very unfortunate with Tom Daschle that this has occurred, but the president needs to lead. He needs to step in here and he needs to withdraw this nomination,” the South Carolina Republican said.
DeMint said he came to that conclusion after it became “obvious” that Daschle knew about the tax problems long before his nomination and did nothing to make it right.
“The average American would likely face criminal charges with tax evasion of this size, yet he did not address the issue until he was nominated,” he said.
Interesting. As the Fox interviewer notes and as I wrote yesterday, Senators do not often reject other Senators for Cabinet appointments. Call it professional courtesy; many of them wouldn’t mind getting confirmed themselves in later administrations, and they don’t want to buck tradition out of self-interest.
The last such time occurred in 1989, when John Tower got bounced over his close connections to defense contractors. Daschle has that same problem in addition to the tax evasions. Will the Senate reject Daschle, or will Obama get the hint and find another HHS nominee? I predict a withdrawal, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, as Daschle suddenly discovers a need to spend more time with his family …. and perhaps a need to earn a little more money to cover his bills.
Update: This ad from a 1986 Daschle campaign is just priceless, courtesy of Power Line:
This alone should torpedo his nomination. The proud owner of the 1971 rustbucket gets tripped up in part because he didn’t pay taxes on his limousine service. Change you just can’t believe, baby!