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The real reason Tom Daschle didnít run for president
L.A. Weekly ^ | January 17-23 | Doug Ireland

Posted on 01/21/2003 7:54:35 AM PST by tdadams

The national press corps didn’t bother to tell you why Tom Daschle, the Democrats’ Senate leader, decided at the 11th hour not to run for president: In the end, he calculated that he couldn’t survive scrutiny of his persistent service to the clients of his wife. Linda Daschle has been one of the airline industry’s top lobbyists for two decades — when she wasn’t busy running the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which explains why, just 11 days after the 9/11 attacks, her husband rushed through the Democratic Senate, which he controlled, the $15 billion bailout for the airline industry, a notorious taxpayer rip-off.

Right after then-Congressman Tom Daschle dumped his first wife for a younger, prettier one, the former Miss Kansas Linda Daschle went to work as chief lobbyist for the Air Transport Association, the airline industry’s main lobby; she then became the senior vice president of the American Association of Airport Executives; and these days hangs her hat at the pricey top Washington law/lobby shop Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, headed by former GOP Senate leader and ex–Reagan chief of staff Howard Baker — where she peddles influence on behalf of a long list of lucrative aviation clients. The clients for whom Linda lobbied brought more than $5.86 million into Baker, Donelson in one three-year period, including Northwest Airlines ($870,000 from 1997 through 2001) and American Airlines ($1.26 million in fees). Northwest was already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy even before 9/11. American, which has had six fatal crashes since 1994 (not counting 9/11) and has been repeatedly fined by the FAA for a skein of safety violations, had the reputation as the most unsafe major U.S. carrier.

Yet these two clients of Linda Daschle’s got nearly $1 billion from the airline bailout her husband pushed into law — thanks to which Northwest (which was the second largest contributor to Senator Daschle’s 1998 campaign, and which scooped up $404 million in government cash) actually posted a $19 million profit in the third quarter after the twin-towers attacks. And, as the lone senator to vote against the bailout, Illinois GOPer Peter Fitzgerald, decried, “The only people who got bailed out were the shareholders. The 1 million airline employees were left twisting in the wind.” So much for the populist noises that occasionally come from Senator Daschle’s mouth. The Daschles also made sure that the bailout exempted American (which has consistently lobbied against tougher airline safety standards) and other carriers with lousy safety records from any real liability to lawsuits from the families of 9/11 victims. Moreover, the General Accounting Office found that the airline industry’s representations to Congress to secure the bailout overstated its anticipated losses from 9/11 by as much as $5 billion.

Before 9/11, Senator Daschle pushed through the sleazy deal in the backrooms of Capitol Hill that forced the FAA to buy defective baggage scanners from one of Linda’s other clients, L-3 International (from which Linda’s firm raked in $440,000 in the ’97–’01 period). Under a provision Linda’s husband had slipped into the 2000 budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the FAA was required to buy one of L-3’s scanners for every one it purchased from the company’s competitors. The L-3 scanners were found to be substandard by DOT’s inspector general; FAA tests of the scanners showed high failure rates; and most have not yet been installed because of their defects (the one at the Dallas–Fort Worth airport — another of Linda’s clients — leaked radiation), which is a major reason DOT says it won’t be able to screen all luggage for explosives for years to come.

In one of those corporate-coddling moves for which the Clinton administration became infamous, President Bubba appointed Linda Daschle deputy administrator of the FAA, putting her in charge of regulating her once-and-future clients; and she wound up running the agency as acting administrator. This, of course, significantly boosted the Daschle family income by hyping the amount Linda could charge her clients when she left government service. She didn’t wait long to cash in. Example: While running the FAA, she awarded Loral Space Technologies (a major Democratic contributor that figured in the ’96 campaign-finance scandals) a nearly $1 billion contract from the federal government; after Linda passed through the revolving door to Baker, Donelson, Loral paid the lobby shop $740,000 in 2000-2001 for Linda’s services. When the FAA was pondering making mandatory a criminal-background check for all airport employees, Linda, who was then running the agency, vigorously opposed this common-sense move — echoing the position of the airline-industry lobby that had previously employed her.

A particularly odiferous episode involved charges that the senator and his wife had tried to sabotage safety inspections of an air-charter firm owned by Murl Bellew, a Daschle family friend who taught Tom how to fly. The scandal erupted and triggered an official investigation when a Bellew small plane chartered by the Indian Health Service crashed in North Dakota, killing the pilot and three doctors en route to an Indian-reservation clinic. Forest Service inspectors had been arguing that Bellew’s firm should be banned from getting government contracts because the operation had been unsafe for years. Senator Daschle obligingly pushed legislation taking the Forest Service out of the business of inspecting small-plane carriers, and senior FAA bureaucrats said Linda had also tried to submarine a proposal to train Forest Service inspectors to conduct FAA investigations. An FAA inspector reported a cover-up: Documents showing the Daschles’ assiduous efforts to minimize inspections of Bellew’s planes were shredded by FAA officials under Linda’s thumb. While an I.G. report failed to find Linda guilty of any lawbreaking, there’s an old saying in Washington: The scandal isn’t what’s illegal, the real scandal is what’s legal.

It’s a sign of how lazy, blinkered and source-coddling the Beltway’s national press corps is when one considers that none of all this made the dissections of the senator’s presidential withdrawal — even though a tough piece by the Washington Monthly’s Stephanie Mencimer in the January 2002 issue laying out much of it was still on newsstands. As she observed, “It doesn’t take Lee Atwater to see how Mrs. Daschle’s professional life might play out in a nasty re-election or presidential campaign: ‘Sen. Daschle’s wife lobbyist for nation’s most dangerous airline,’ or ‘majority leader’s wife lobbied to make airlines less safe.’”

Linda Daschle has tried to pooh-pooh her obvious conflicts of interest as an influence peddler, telling The New York Times last August that the staff members she lobbies “are pretty junior and may or may not know who I am” — a mind-boggling, risible assertion. But her senator/leader husband has always refused to make public his and his wife’s tax returns, despite repeated press requests. As a presidential candidate, Tom Daschle could not have avoided giving the press a look at those returns — which would have spelled out just how much cash Linda brings in from her clients.

And that, children, was the ticking time bomb that would inevitably have exploded if the senator had sought the White House — and is the bottom-line reason he chose not to run.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; airlinesafety; candidates; lindadaschle; lobbying; presidentmidget; tomdaschle
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1 posted on 01/21/2003 7:54:36 AM PST by tdadams
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To: tdadams
bump
2 posted on 01/21/2003 7:57:19 AM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
Love this article!! Rush has been saying this for some time.
3 posted on 01/21/2003 7:59:24 AM PST by Elkiejg
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To: Elkiejg
He surely has!!!!!!
4 posted on 01/21/2003 8:00:44 AM PST by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
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To: tdadams
Don't forget that Linda Daschle also succeeded in getting an unprecedented patent extension for the prescription allergy drug Claritin. Had it not been for her efforts, the drug would now be available in a generic form for less than half the current price.
5 posted on 01/21/2003 8:04:47 AM PST by The Great RJ
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To: tdadams
an "I hate tom daschole" bump
6 posted on 01/21/2003 8:05:59 AM PST by lawgirl (FREEP Congress--we need Bush's judicial nominees approved!)
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To: All
Interesting.
7 posted on 01/21/2003 8:08:24 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: tdadams
All this is interesting (and undoubtedly true). However, it isn't the reason Dasshole decided not to run. The real reason is that the whiney little @sswipe knew that he'd have to resign his Senate seat to make a serious run, and would then have gotten his clock cleaned, resulting in no power at all for Tiny Tom - not even within his own household, where wifey would be making 10 times more than his Senate pension. Nope, his fragile ego could never stand the shame.
8 posted on 01/21/2003 8:10:59 AM PST by Ancesthntr
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To: All
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9 posted on 01/21/2003 8:12:09 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: The Great RJ
Think it is time we demand the little "rich swine" report his financials. He should be asked every time he shows his face in public "release them". We need to know just how rich he is, since he seems to be so concerned about the evil rich.
10 posted on 01/21/2003 8:12:18 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Ancesthntr
resulting in no power at all for Tiny Tom - not even within his own household, where wifey would be making 10 times more than his Senate pension..

Do you think his wife would continue making that money after he left the Senate?

11 posted on 01/21/2003 8:17:32 AM PST by DeFault User
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To: DeFault User
Regarding Tom Daschle, and to paraphrase Immortal words of Don Imus: "No Method Has Been Devised to calculate how big a WEASLE he is"!
12 posted on 01/21/2003 8:26:18 AM PST by Samurai_Jack (Ive got a tag line around here somewhere...)
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To: Samurai_Jack
And Little Snot Nosed Tommy's running mate would be...?
13 posted on 01/21/2003 8:35:13 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: DeFault User
Do you think his wife would continue making that money after he left the Senate?

You know, you're right. So he'd have no power, no money, and maybe no wife (no money and no power are big turn-offs, just as having either or both is a big turn-on).

14 posted on 01/21/2003 8:47:32 AM PST by Ancesthntr
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To: tdadams

All the more reason to do an in-depth investigation, anyway.


15 posted on 01/21/2003 8:57:47 AM PST by expatpat
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To: tdadams
Thanks for this great article. I hadn't realized he'd dumped his first wife for a younger one. No wonder he and McCain are so close.
16 posted on 01/21/2003 9:09:56 AM PST by mass55th
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To: The Great RJ
Claritin is now available over-the-counter.
17 posted on 01/21/2003 10:21:52 AM PST by I. Ben Hurt
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To: Ancesthntr
...resulting in no power at all for Tiny Tom - not even within his own household, where wifey would be making 10 times more than his Senate pension.

The day Tom Daschle leaves the Senate is the day his trophy wife becomes yet another unemployable ex-beauty queen. Her value to her clients is as a conduit for bribes to her husband. Take a look at how much her income falls in the coming year, now that Tiny Tom is a member of the opposition. I would wager that she makes less than half this year what she landed in 2002.

18 posted on 01/21/2003 10:27:26 AM PST by gridlock (Blocking the box since 1999)
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To: tdadams
Thanks for the post. I knew it had something to do with Linda but wasn't sure exactly what it was. Now we know. Tommy keeps blowing off his steam and one day he'll get his comeupance (or is that downupance for teeny tom?).
19 posted on 01/21/2003 10:29:38 AM PST by Marysecretary
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To: Ancesthntr
Yep, that, too. He could never have been president. He'd need someone to bring along that highchair for him and that would be toooo embarrassing.
20 posted on 01/21/2003 10:30:29 AM PST by Marysecretary
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To: tdadams
"...$15 billion bailout for the airline industry, a notorious taxpayer rip-off."

I'm no fan of the Daschles, Sen. or Mrs., but how is this a "bailout" and a "taxpayer rip-off" when the airlines collectively paid $30 billion in income taxes the previous year?

21 posted on 01/21/2003 10:33:34 AM PST by Middle Man
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To: Middle Man
Corporations don't pay income taxes. Care to elaborate and/or substantiate your claim of $30 billion paid.
22 posted on 01/21/2003 11:19:57 AM PST by tdadams
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To: timestax
I can't believe this came from the LA Times. Who was the FreeRepublic poster who was collecting this information. Someone just posted it all last week or the week before.
23 posted on 01/21/2003 11:22:51 AM PST by Eva
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To: Eva
L.A. Weekly, not the L.A. Times.
24 posted on 01/21/2003 11:35:18 AM PST by tdadams
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To: tdadams
Ah, I should have looked more carefully. What is LA Weekly?
25 posted on 01/21/2003 11:38:41 AM PST by Eva
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To: Eva
What is L.A. Weekly?

That's what's surprising to me. Anytime you see a paper with the name "(city name here) Weekly" or "New Times," more than likely it is what's called an "alternative" weekly. Such papers began mostly with the onset of desktop publishing capabilities (I believe the Village Voice was the first), and are supposedly an alternative to mainstream newspapers, but since they almost always lean way, way far to the left, I'm always left wondering, "An alternative to what?"

Another interesting point about the "alternative" weeklies -- they give the impression that they are independently owned and published ... but most of them are now owned by a large conglomerate (I forgot the name). Very few small-business weeklies are in existance any more. (I used to write quite a lot for the "alternative" press).

Anyone with the smarts and wherewithal to start a conservative "alternative" weekly, let me know! I'd love to freelance for you.

Finfreak

26 posted on 01/21/2003 12:22:18 PM PST by Finny (God Bless G.W. Bush with wisdom, popularity, good timing, success, and victory.)
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To: Eva
Somebody is gonna be fired over this, just wait and see!!
27 posted on 01/21/2003 4:05:22 PM PST by timestax
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To: tdadams
It was revealed by one of the congressmen during the post-9/11 hearings on the $15 billion "bailout" of the airlines. Of course, it wasn't a "bailout" since the airlines were shut down for four days by government edict.

When I feel like digging through the Federal Register for the actual quote, I will, but this is after all an Internet discussion thread, not a way of life.

28 posted on 01/22/2003 6:45:59 AM PST by Middle Man
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To: timestax
bump
29 posted on 01/22/2003 12:38:18 PM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
bump
30 posted on 01/30/2003 10:54:09 PM PST by timestax
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To: Middle Man
bump to the top!!
31 posted on 01/31/2003 11:52:14 AM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
little tommy in not running because they refused to put telephone books on the chair in the oval office
32 posted on 01/31/2003 12:05:42 PM PST by hapy
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To: I. Ben Hurt
but no generic, huh.
33 posted on 01/31/2003 12:10:28 PM PST by CPT Clay
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To: timestax; Alamo-Girl
Hey,AG, over here!!!
34 posted on 01/31/2003 12:12:56 PM PST by CPT Clay
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To: CPT Clay
Thanks for the heads up!
35 posted on 01/31/2003 12:18:59 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: CPT Clay
Ooops. Missed the "generic". Claritin is still very expensive, even at Wal Mart.
36 posted on 01/31/2003 3:01:10 PM PST by I. Ben Hurt
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To: hapy
alittle tommy in not running because they refused to put telephone books on the chair in the oval office 32 posted on 01/31/2003 12:05 PM PST by hapy [

ha hah aahahhahahaa, or as Curly would say , nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk nyuk.

37 posted on 01/31/2003 10:45:05 PM PST by timestax
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To: I. Ben Hurt
bump
38 posted on 02/02/2003 1:06:07 AM PST by timestax
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To: mass55th
bump
39 posted on 02/02/2003 1:21:53 AM PST by timestax
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To: muggs
bump to the top
40 posted on 02/08/2003 2:48:42 PM PST by timestax
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To: Support Free Republic
bump to the top!!
41 posted on 02/08/2003 2:53:08 PM PST by timestax
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To: All
bump
42 posted on 02/08/2003 2:53:55 PM PST by Tamzee (There are 10 types of people... those who read binary, and those who don't.)
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To: tdadams
And the number 1 reason Tom Daschle didn't run for president?

He couldn't beat GWB under any circumstance.

43 posted on 02/08/2003 3:00:33 PM PST by Calpublican
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To: The Great RJ
bump to the top
44 posted on 02/08/2003 3:00:49 PM PST by timestax
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To: Calpublican
bump to the top!!
45 posted on 02/08/2003 3:17:19 PM PST by timestax
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To: tdadams
bump to the top
46 posted on 02/08/2003 3:21:46 PM PST by timestax
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To: Middle Man
bttt
47 posted on 02/08/2003 7:05:59 PM PST by timestax
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To: tdadams
bump to the top
48 posted on 02/09/2003 11:22:30 AM PST by timestax
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To: Diddley
ping
49 posted on 02/09/2003 10:40:05 PM PST by timestax
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To: muggs
bump
50 posted on 02/11/2003 9:21:21 AM PST by timestax
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