Posts Tagged lobbyists

Tom Daschle must withdraw from HHS nomination

daschleTom Daschle should remove himself from the nomination for secretary of health and human services. Not just because of his tax issues, although those are bad enough. But also this (MSNBC):

The disclosure of Daschle’s tax problems coincided with the release of the financial statement he submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, which details for the first time exactly how, without becoming a registered lobbyist, he made millions of dollars giving public speeches and private counsel to insurers, hospitals, realtors, farmers, energy firms and telecommunications companies with complex regulatory and legislative interests in Washington.

Daschle’s expertise and insights, gleaned over 26 years in Congress, earned him more than $5 million over the past two years, including $220,000 from the health-care industry, and perks such as a chauffeured Cadillac, according to the documents. [emphasis mine]

To me, this is no different, no better, than the Wall Street fat cats giving themselves bonuses. I am well aware politicians parlay their political careers into lucrative speaking and advisory roles – to the tune of millions of dollars. But if they do so, they should not expect to return to public office. They are tainted by the money – they can’t tell us those business connections will not matter in the conduct of their official duties.

“Daschle is the quintessential Washington story. You leave a powerful position, and you leverage it to make a fortune,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government watchdog group. “He is not alone . . . [and] it would be hard for Obama to fill his administration without ever turning to someone like that. That said, these are the kind of Washington insiders that Obama campaigned against.”

The Obama team is “learning that it’s easier to campaign on that than govern under it,” Sloan added. The problem is that “it looks disingenuous.”

Tom Daschle may have been a good candidate for the HHS role, but I say these revelations disqualify him and Obama needs to find someone else.

As my friend commented, those guys back there are all feeding from the same trough.

On Tuesday, former senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for Health and Human Services Secretary.

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