Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON -- It has happened again! Another Obama nominee has admitted to tax problems. Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius has admitted to irregularities in her tax returns extending over the past three years. She has made good by sending off a check for $7,000. Sebelius claims that problems were discovered by her accountant as she prepared for her confirmation hearings and that the debt was the consequence of "unintentional errors." Incidentally, when she was committing those errors, she was governor of Kansas.

According to my calculations, that makes five Obama nominees who have reported similar tax irregularities, none of which was discovered until the nominees began making preparations for their confirmation hearings. Others who have benefited the U.S. Treasury by submitting to confirmation hearings include former New York Fed President Timothy Geithner and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. Geithner discovered that he owed the government $34,000 and paid promptly. He is now secretary of treasury. Kirk discovered that he owed nearly $10,000 and presumably also paid promptly, for on March 18, he was confirmed as U.S. trade representative.

Two other Obama administration nominees withdrew from consideration when their tax problems were discovered. They are Nancy Killefer -- who was nominated to be chief performance officer, or White House performance czar, before it was discovered that there was a $946 lien on her house for her failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help -- and, of course, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who withdrew his nomination to head Health and Human Services after it was discovered that he owed $140,000 in taxes and interest. Daschle also became a millionaire while serving as one of Washington's hated lobbyists. The Obama administration is highly critical of lobbyists and also of millionaires.

All of this suggests that the Internal Revenue Service may have hit on a novel way to get tax cheats to pay up: nominate them to high government service.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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