“In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
Despite certainly having heard this famous Ben Franklin quote, three of President Barack Obama’s top appointees have neglected to pay parts of their taxes, bringing such intense media scrutiny that two of them have withdrawn their nominations.
Tom Daschle, Obama’s nominee for Secretary for Health and Human Services, failed to pay more than $120,000 in taxes, mostly stemming from a car and driver he used that was given to him as a gift.
Nancy Killefer, nominated by Obama to be his chief performance expert at the Office of Management and Budget, also withdrew her nomination after facing tax problems. She had a $900 tax lien on her home in 2005 for failing to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help. Her job at the OMB would have been as a watchdog on wasteful government spending. With her resignation, she will likely stay in her current job at McKinsey & Company.
Timothy Geithner, Obama’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, had unpaid taxes of his own. As an employee of the International Monetary Fund, many have agreed that his tax situation was significantly more complex than the average person’s. Nevertheless, as the person who would oversee the Internal Revenue Service, his oversight had extra weight. After an apology before the media and Congress, he was able to preserve his nomination. Geithner was confirmed by the Senate, and is now the Treasury Secretary.