Kathleen Sebelius is Not Much More Innocent

Kathleen Sebelius, Gov. of Kansas who is the latest installment to the Health and Human Services Secretary position for the Obama Administration, has paid back taxes that she had failed to pay in earlier fiscal years.

The total amount was close to $8,000, with $7,040 in back taxes and $878 in interest.  According to the New York Times, Sebelius commented that she and her husband, Gary, have paid up “after discovering ‘unintentional errors’ in their tax returns for 2005-7.  Ms. Sebelius said she had erroneously taken tax deductions for certain mortgage interest and several charitable contributions,” reports the New York Times.

Although tax issues have been a thorny consistency for many nominees and staffers within the Obama administration, it seems that Sebelius’ tax issues have not been put on the spotlight.  According to the Washington Post website, “In a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday, [April 2 2009], no mention was made of Sebelius’s payment of back taxes.”  This comes as a shock for most individuals since there was such an emphasis on the former HHS nominee, Tom Daschle, and his tax problems.  Tom Daschle owed more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest for 2005-2007 and he withdrew from the HHS nominee position because of this.

It seems as if Obama officials and nominees and the Internal Revenue Service are archrivals.  When Ms. Sebelius came on board, it was seen as a victory for the U.S. health care system because of the promise that this woman held.  When it was disclosed that she ALSO had failed to pay taxes because “she and her husband mistakenly claimed a mortgage deduction and did not have proper paperwork for a few charitable contributions,” it makes me wonder.  I’m not imposing that she isn’t well-qualified for this strenuous and challenging position, but yet again this unfolding information underscores the lax vetting process that the Obama administration has exercised ever since Obama’s inauguration.  

The United States health care system needs to be revamped, and trivial distractions such as failure to pay back taxes from the person running the show is highly unnecessary.  There is so much going on right now within this revamping process, and a major issue is how to pay for it.  The Health Care Reserve Fund has recently been proposed by the President, which will include taxing the economically affluent of society to fund this process.  As mentioned by the Washington Post, other areas offered by lawmakers include “whether the restructuring of the U.S. health-care system ought to include a new government-sponsored insurance plan for people who have difficulty buying private coverage.  Several Republicans expressed reservations with the idea, particularly if it allows the government to set payment rates.”

I am close to positive that Kathleen Sebelius is the woman for the job, but the sloppy vetting process that has admitted her to this position is an all-too-often theme in the Obama administration.


~ by jrn320afigueroa on April 2, 2009.

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