Tom Daschle: Conflict Of Interest On Health Care

Remember during the campaign when Obama said that he would clamp down on lobbyists and not use any in his administration? He has already broken that promise several times, usually as a means of politically paying off his allies who helped get him elected. But it still doesn’t excuse the broken promise.

Well, this broken promise has come back and bit Obama again. Now, it is with Tom Daschle, the former HHS nominee who was scuttled when it came to light that Daschle had failed to pay certain taxes. Today, Daschle is a very well-payed lobbyist for Alston & Byrd and has the ear of the President on the contentious issue of health care.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Daschle never left the picture. With unrivaled ties on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, he talks constantly with top White House advisers, many of whom previously worked for him.

Now the White House and Senate Democratic leaders appear to be moving toward a blueprint for overhauling the health system, centered on nonprofit insurance cooperatives, that Mr. Daschle began promoting two months ago as a politically feasible alternative to a more muscular government-run insurance plan.

It is an idea that happens to dovetail with the interests of many Alston & Bird clients, like the insurance giant UnitedHealth and the Tennessee Hospital Association.

The conflict of interest here is as bright as the sun on a cloudless day.

You can access the complete story on-line here:

Daschle Has Ear Of White House And Industry
David D. Kirkpatrick
New York Times
August 22, 2009

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