So Tom Daschle has a $140,000 tax “glitch”. Or should we say “glitches,” plural?
After all, we all know that he failed to report six figures’ worth of taxes he owed due to his being driven around by his good buddy the chauffeur.
But Daschle had some other whoopsies as well:
Due to an apparent clerical error at InterMedia — which paid Daschle $1 million a year for consulting services — Daschle also failed to pay taxes on one month’s salary.
And he improperly deducted several thousand dollars in charitable donations.
Oops! Oops! Oops!
But I have another bone to pick with the former Senator: he’s yet another lobbyist working for an administration that claims not to be employing lobbyists.
Yes, I know: he’s not a lobbyist:
Let’s be clear: Tom Daschle is not a lobbyist. Which is good, because the Obama administration does not employ lobbyists (mostly).
A lobbyist, you see, uses his special insider knowledge, connections, and status to turn a buck and help special interests. Oh, and a lobbyist also has to file a paper certifying that (s)he is a lobbyist. This is a huge difference from what Tom Daschle has been doing the last four years, right?
. . . .
Lobbyists use their insider knowledge and connections to make money from special interests and because they do so directly (call their former colleagues, for example), they must register as lobbyists. Tom Daschle used his insider status and knowledge and connections to make money from special interests but because he did not directly lobby (rather than calling a former colleague, he would tell the special interest who to call), he did not have to register as a lobbyist. And so he can work in the Obama administration.
Got that? Daschle is not a registered lobbyist, so we can overlook the $5.2 million he made advising health insurers and hospitals, among others. We can overlook Daschle’s likely conflicts of interest.
Never mind that Big Media described him as a lobbyist back in 2005, when he became one. NPR interviewed Daschle, who denied being a lobbyist in the interview — but NPR didn’t seem to buy it. Their segment was titled Tom Daschle on His New Role as Lobbyist.
Daschle joined the “Legislative & Public Policy Group” at Alston & Bird with Bob Dole, and it’s not hard to guess why the firm boasted of having both men on the payroll. The firm publicized a discussion featuring Daschle and Dole by saying that their Legislative & Public Policy Group “is well-positioned to provide sound, strategic advice to clients, helping them create new opportunities through the legislative process.”
Bob Dole put it more colorfully in a quote from this 2005 Washington Post article, which described Daschle’s joining Alston & Bird along with Dole:
Dole said the Democrat would be a valuable asset to the firm even though Congress is run by the GOP these days.
“He’s got a lot of friends in the Senate, and I’ve got a lot of friends in the Senate, and, combined, who knows — we might have 51,” Dole joked.
You got Dole’s joke, I take it. 51, you see, is how many votes it takes to get the client’s legislation passed.
Look at how the Washington Post described Daschle’s job then:
Daschle is merely the latest high-profile former lawmaker to jump to the lucrative world of lobbying and law firm work in what has become an increasing trend.
Hmmm. Guess the Washington Post considered Daschle to be a lobbyist, just like NPR — and just like any man off the street would. (Maybe I should ask Greg Packer what he thinks!) Registered or not, the guy’s a lobbyist — pure and simple.
Well, at least he’s popular with the left. Here’s Glenn Greenwald, who says Daschle
embodies everything that is sleazy, sickly, and soul-less about Washington. It’s probably impossible for Obama to fill his cabinet with individuals entirely free of Beltway filth — it’s extremely rare to get anywhere near that system without being infected by it — but Daschle oozes Beltway slime from every pore.
Heh. The folks at Democratic Underground don’t care for him much either, noting that Daschle defended Obama’s 180-degree spin on telecom immunity, even as Daschle was working for Alston & Bird, which lobbied on behalf of AT&T with respect to that very issue.
So, add it up. A tax dodger, a lobbyist in an administration that supposedly doesn’t employ lobbyists, and a slimy, sleazy, soulless politician hated by the right and the left alike.
What’s not to like?