So, Tom Daschle is back as the presumed nominee for Health and Human Services. Oh, boy, I wonder if HIS spouse, Linda Hall Daschle will be publicly vetted a la Bill Clinton? If you read the article up at MSNBC, there’s some scurrying around already…
In fact, Daschle stayed in the capital city after his defeat, becoming a public policy adviser and member of the legislative and public policy group at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle isn’t registered as a lobbyist. He advises clients on such issues as health care, financial services, taxes and trade, according to the firm’s Web site.
Health care interests, including CVS Caremark, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Abbott Laboratories and HealthSouth, are among the firm’s lobbying clients.
Wife has lobbying interests
One area of review of his appointment will be the lobbying connections of his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, who has worked mostly on behalf of airline-related companies over the years.
NBC also confirmed Wednesday that she will leave her job in a lobbying firm, where she has specialized in aviation and defense issues. She will reportedly go on to start her own public policy firm, where she will not lobby.
So Tom just advises, and doesn’t lobby. OK. And he’ll be overseing health care “reform.” OK.
As for his wife, amazingly, the Washington Post doesn’t seem to have any articles about her to peruse. Odd, considering she has had long career at the Federal Aviation Commission and as an aviation lobbyist…But USA Today still has a piece from 2001 titled “Daschle, lobbyist wife vow to keep careers separate“.
From the article:
Tom Daschle’s rise to the helm of the Senate spotlights an awkward fact of life for Washington’s power couples: When professional lives intertwine, ethical conflicts can follow.
The South Dakota Democrat’s wife, Linda, is a lobbyist who mostly represents airlines, aircraft makers and other aviation-related interests — all of which have a steady stream of issues before the Senate. As majority leader, Tom Daschle has the power to set the Senate’s agenda.
One client that attracted attention because it was outside Daschle’s normal area of expertise was Schering-Plough, the pharmaceutical giant that sought unsuccessfully last year to extend the patent life of its allergy drug, Claritin. Several ethics groups said the lucrative lobbying arrangement smacked of buying special access.
Back in 2004 when Daschle was running for the Senate again, a blog named South Dakota Politics, which was keeping an eye on Daschle and his opponent, John Thune, took on Ms. Daschle’s lobbying interests and the connections to Senate actions.
The October 26, 2004 entry is particularly interesting (note–the Roll Call article is no longer available):
Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, has a report today headlined “GOP Makes Issue of Daschle’s Wife.” Excerpt:
The Thune campaign took out a full-page ad in Saturday’s Argus Leader, the newspaper of Sioux Falls, that excerpted a report filed with the Senate Office of Public Records showing Linda Daschle’s name on the form for her firm’s lobbying on behalf of Schering-Plough. At the time the company was seeking a patent extension on its anti-allergy drug, Claritin.Noting that the company paid $470,000 to Daschle’s firm, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, the Thune ad ends with the line: “Only one candidate has personally profited from big drug companies. That candidate is Tom Daschle.”
The South Dakota Republican Party also sent out a four-page mailer that went after Linda Daschle’s lobbying for airlines that benefited from a post-Sept. 11, 2001, bailout supported by Sen. Daschle and all Congressional leaders as well as by Thune himself.
Thune’s aides stayed on the offensive Monday, suggesting their attacks were based on stories from mainstream or left-leaning publications such as The Washington Monthly, Slate and L.A. Weekly. Dick Wadhams, Thune’s campaign manager, said the “clear conflict of interest Linda Daschle” is involved in was first aired “long before this campaign started.”
“There is literally only one candidate in this race who has personally profited from pharmaceutical companies,” Wadhams reiterated.
It should be noted that Thune’s print ad criticizing Daschle for personally profiting from pharmaceutical companies came AFTER Daschle began running television ads last Wednesday lying about Thune lobbying for “big drug companies.” In reality, Thune only lobbies for South Dakota companies.
It’s interesting to observe that the first candidate to bring up the issues of lobbying and abortion in television ads has been Daschle, not Thune.
Daschle lost in 2004, and this information apparently turned off enough voters to “make it so.” This and that big house that’s pictured on the blog and his declaration as D.C. as his place of residence (dubbed “Mansiongate”)…and the lie about Thune’s lobbying. That latter point alone qualifies him for a job with the Obama camp….
According to OpenSecrets.org, Ms. Daschle has apparently continued her relationship with Baker, Donelson et al. If you want to see a boatload of connections, however, check out Muckety‘s extensive relationship maps. (Play around with these and be sure to pass the mouse over the wheel of connections to get the full information. Click on Baker, Donelson, then at the bottom click on “47 lobby firm”). And, yes, you’ll see hospitals and health outfits galore, Howard Baker, Lamar Alexander, etc. etc.–it’s so jam-packed you can’t even see all of them…until you click on individual firm names and you see even more! It’s very interesting!
This info isn’t the most up-to-date and I couldn’t find anything about Ms. Daschle’s recent activities.
But the point is, even if nothing happened with the Daschles and Senate business, there should be scrutiny. And, if there is scrutiny, there might be a bit of unpleasantness for the newly-minted “ethical” standards of the Obama crowd. Of course, Ms. Daschle is leaving her current firm to create her own public policy outfit now. Are you reassured yet? And all those contacts of Tom’s and his new post gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling!
On the subject of health, the Organic Consumers Association has been up in arms about the possible appointment of Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Seems Vilsack is no friend of organic foods. The organic foods industry is growing quickly so you’d think consumers would see some more positive steps taken to enhance a healthy food supply. OOPS!!!!!
Tell President-Elect Obama: NO Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture
Tell President-Elect Obama: No to Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture
It has been widely reported that former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is being considered for the Secretary of Agriculture position in the Obama Administration. Vilsack is no friend of organic food and farming and his appointment would represent a major disappointment for the Organic Consumers Association and its members. But there is still time to make your voice heard.
1) Contact the office of President-Elect Obama and urge him to appoint a Secretary of Agriculture that reflects your organic values
2) Call office of President-Elect Obama at 202-540-3000 and make sure your concerns about Vilsack be heard.
3) Sign the OCA’s petition below to President-Elect Obama and urge him to appoint a Secretary of Agriculture that is supportive of organic food and farming.
I guess I have to ask, how’s all this CHANGE hitting you, Obamacrats?
By the way, I’ve added my name to that petition. The Obama crowd hasn’t even taken office yet and I’m already sending in petitions….SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE!!
Another thing that is STILL not changing is the Sarah Palin bashing. When I saw this screed in Wednesday’s edition of the local rag, I went ballistic. Have had “agita” ever since. Where the F*CK does this woman come from? And since when did Palin express any interest whatsoever in taking the path upward via a Senate seat? More insults abound. Froma Harrop repeats every snide comment about clothes and the “real thoughts” of the Republican talk show guests that she can muster. Never a mention of the the 57 states or location of the Great Lakes according to Obama, by the way.
This really PISSED ME OFF. Some snippets:
…For many of us, the night terror of Palin being second in line to become president is gone. We can think straight again. And so can Republican leaders.
…The sands of the egg timer seem to be running out on Palin’s moment as a serious national political figure. Even in Alaska, the stars no longer line up in her favor.
Palin returns home at a time when falling oil prices have crimped any petro-state executive’s ability to spread the wealth and take credit for it. She and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez have that in common.
Her divisive remarks during the campaign caused Democrats in Anchorage to doubt the sincerity of her seeming bipartisan approach to governing. They will be less docile. Face it: Palin has a snowball’s chance in Hawaii of recouping her formerly high approval ratings in Alaska.
…Her hope of staying in the big game was to become a U.S. senator.
…While Palin’s political prospects seem increasingly constrained, she has a cloudless future as an incendiary TV talk show host.
…For all her bashing of the East Coast and the media, Palin clearly loves being there and talking to them. Good use for a $5,000 Valentino jacket, alas.
As Captain Potter of M.A.S.H. used to say…..HORSE PUCKEY!!
UPDATE via Chicago Correspondent Leslie, 11/20/08 A.M.
Well, it seems our skepticism about Tom Daschle’s “non-lobbying” activities is being picked up in the media.
Ex-senator’s health care advising could force recusal on many issues
WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of former Senator Tom Daschle for secretary of health and human services posed new questions on Wednesday about how broadly the new administration would apply Mr. Obama’s campaign promises to limit potential conflicts of interest among his appointees.
At issue is Mr. Daschle’s work since leaving the Senate four years ago as a board member of the Mayo Clinic and a highly paid adviser to health care clients at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird.
In a detailed list of campaign promises, Mr. Obama pledged that “no political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.”
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: Alston & Bird, Baker DOnelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Captain Potter, Claritin, ethics, Federal Aviation Commission, Froma Harrop, Health and Human Services, John Thune, Linda Hall Daschle, lobbyists, M.A.S.H., Muckety, NARAL, NOW, OpenSecrets.org, Organic Consumers Association, Roll Call, Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Daschle, Tom Vilsack, USA Today, Washington Post | 12 Comments »