Today’s stories–reporting that Tom Daschle knew about his tax problem as far back as last June, but didn’t tell the Obama transition team about it until last month–are in many ways more damaging, I think, than the initial reports.:
Although Daschle had known since June 2008 that he needed to correct his tax returns, he never expected the amount to be such a “jaw-dropping” sum and “thought it was being taken care of” by his accountant, spokeswoman Jenny Backus said.
Just who are these accountants, anyway? Why don’t we ever hear from them?
Today’s reports also shed more light on a common practice here in DC, where former members of Congress collect millions of dollars from special interest groups, accepting lucrative speaking engagements and offering them advice, without having to register as lobbyists.:
The Health Industry Distributors Association, a trade association representing medical product distributors, wrote to Daschle last week to express concerns about proposed Medicare changes and reminded him of the $14,000 speech he delivered at its conference last year.
“As you may recall from speaking to some of our members during HIDA’s 2008 Executive Conference in Miami, where you were the keynote speaker, a competitive bidding program will undermine access to quality care for millions of beneficiaries,” said the letter, which was posted on the group’s Web site.
One of our own commenters, Shepherdwong, summed up the real issue here, in a comment he wrote yesterday to an earlier post:
If you want to be outraged, it should be at the entire class oligarchy we have constructed, where most of our leaders haven’t a clue how the other 99.9% of us think and live, and they’re working full time every day trying to suck down a fire hose of money and perks. I believe that basic disconnect explains much of the sh*tstorm we’re experiencing, whether from government, industry or the corporate media. These folks live in a complete bubble and you would be shocked to discover how clueless they are on a whole host of “real life” matters. And, it’s easy to understand why: the rules for the rest of us literally don’t apply to them.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.