Czar 44, where are you? Ethics trumps loyalty for Obama in health czar hunt

Hilzoy of the Washington Monthly thinks she sees a silver lining to this dark Daschle cloud: Obama was willing to sacrifice Daschle, a mentor and personal friend whom Obama had handpicked for two of the most important jobs in his administration, someone he had every personal and political reason to want by his side. Maybe Obama really is serious about raising ethical standards in Washington?

One of Obama’s first acts in office was to sign an executive order tightening restrictions on lobbyists joining the executive branch. Daschle was a lobbyist in all but name, he even worked for the lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle’s back taxes were a big problem, but Tim Geithner was confirmed as Treasury Secretary despite having owed tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes. What made Daschle’s position untenable was the fact that he’d accrued his undeclared income as a crypto-lobbyist for interests he hoped to regulate. That’s exactly the revolving door Obama pledged to block.

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