President-elect Obama’s nominee to head Treasury has hit a snag in his confirmation process. Turns out he wasn’t paying taxes, among other issues.
Treasury Secretary-nominee Timothy Geithner’s tax and
domestic help troubles could muddy his start in a job critically
important to President-elect Barack Obama’s efforts to combat the worst
economic crises since World War II.
Geithner’s difficulties are a further embarrassing
misstep for Obama after the withdrawal of Commerce Secretary nominee
Bill Richardson over a political investigation, and questions about the
qualifications of Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
Obama will be sensitive to the perception that his administration is
bungling a key area of the transition in a crisis.
Now the Geithner hearings are postponed, though Democrats and most of the media are saying he just made “an honest mistake” and he’ll definitely be confirmed.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are just trying to go along to get along at this point.
“I think he’s a good man. He really knows his stuff,”
said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a Finance member. “My guesstimate is
that he’ll be approved with my vote.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the second-ranking GOP member of the
panel, said Geithner had made “mistakes” but said, “If we want
perfection around here, we’ll never have anyone for any one of these
Was that sentiment used even once by a Democrat in a confirmation
hearing of a Republican nominee accused of wrongdoing? Or was there
such a thing as “an honest mistake” in that party? Just asking.
Maureen Dowd makes the point in the NYTimes that some of these mistakes have tripped up other nominees. And that
Americans expect the man who’s in charge of the I.R.S. to pay his own taxes.