Memo to anyone still angling for a top position in the Obama administration: Pay your taxes. Tom Daschle is the latest political player to find himself out of the running — in his case, to head the Department of Health and Human Services — after tax issues came to light.

Obama had tapped Daschle to lead the charge on health care reform. The former Senate majority leader said Tuesday that that effort would require a leader who did not carry any “distraction.” It might also require a leader who didn’t make millions advising (read: lobbying for) the health industry.

Another nominee, Nancy Killefer, also had to withdraw, reportedly because of tax issues. Timothy Geithner made it through the nomination process despite his own disinclination to pay his taxes.

Where is the IRS in all this? Clearly there is an epidemic of well-off people willfully ripping off Uncle Sam. We wouldn’t wish an audit on anybody, but these people were really asking for it.

All this has managed to irritate Campbell Brown, who vents about it here.

Los Angeles Times:

The move came after leading newspapers questioned his ability to serve after the tax situation was revealed. It also came hours after Nancy Killefer, picked by President Obama to be the federal government’s first chief performance officer, withdrew her nomination after reports that she had failed to pay employment taxes for household help.

Killefer was the third appointee by President Obama to have tax problems. Timothy Geithner was confirmed as Treasury secretary despite owing more than $34,000 in taxes that he paid.

“Now we must move forward,” Obama said in a written statement accepting Daschle’s request to be taken out of consideration. On Monday, Obama said he “absolutely” stood by Daschle, who apologized to the Senate Finance Committee for his tax situation.

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