As the Obama administration forms its Cabinet we are witnessing a continuation of the double standard applied to individuals who are members of the inner circle.
I believe that we were all impressed with President Obama’s quick action to withdraw the appointment of Governor Bill Richardson D-NM as our Secretary of Commerce when it was learned after his nomination that he was about to be indicted in an ethics investigation. It is my suspicion that we were willing to give the new administration a pass on its failed vetting process with Richardson. However, this development does give pause for concern as it should for either political party.
I see two fresh, very disturbing examples of a double standard continuing into this new government which claims to represent CHANGE and a very high ethical standard. First, our Congress has voted to approve Dr. Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury, despite his failure to pay appropriate income taxes, and pay required fees for a domestic’s employment along with questions as to that person’s immigration status. Why did Geithner get a pass, pay the back taxes along with penalties, then be rewarded with a Cabinet position? Do you think the IRS would be that kind to you?
Now we are told about former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle’s D-SD failure to pay taxes for at least three years that exceeded $128,000.00 plus interest. His newly amended tax returns reflect reductions in charitable contributions (Huh?), previously unreported income for consulting services (he forgot he cashed checks?), and now he is claiming the limo and driver that was at his disposal during this time (he didn’t remember getting those “free rides?”). It appears the members of both the Senate and House are more than willing to overlook Daschle’s illegal actions and confirm him as the next Secretary of Health.
In addition, Daschle’s wife, Linda Hall Daschle, was a very visible, highly paid Washington lobbyist in the fields of aviation and health care until the first of this year. Mr. Daschle reportedly asked his wife to resign her position so that there would be no question of conflict of interest. The Obama team has long claimed that none of his appointees would have lobbying connections for at least two years prior to appointment. The Daschles have been married since 1986.
None of us are free of mistakes, but here are two more blatant examples of the double standard applied to individuals who operate within the inner circle. These two appointments have even caused the Obama-friendly media to raise embarrassing questions. The new administration is shrugging off the media’s questions by saying they need these highly qualified men to address the current crisis. The truth is the Obama team is cutting corners, and they have a very flawed vetting process. I wonder, what is next?
With the disqualifying disclosures out in the open, both individuals should have had their appointments withdrawn. Do you think they would have protected you or me for more than thirty-seconds? Nothing has changed in Washington, and if you don’t believe that, I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.