Former Senator Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has withdrawn from consideration for the post over his belated payment of $128,000 in federal taxes.
Daschle withdrew his bid for failing to pay taxes on the value of a car and driver he used for several years, according to the Washington Post. He accepted Obama's nomination for the HHS position in November 2008.
Obama said that he had hoped Daschle's expertise would help drive his efforts to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. However, the former senator acknowledged today that his presence would have "complicated" that endeavor.
"If 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction," Daschle said. "Right now, I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction."
Daschle has since paid $146,000 in back payments and interest, and apologized on Monday for what he deemed "income tax errors."