February 2, 2009 7:32AM

Naïveté, Intégrité, Fraternité

HHS secretary‐​nominee and former U.S. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle owed the IRS more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest. One contributing factor: a spokeswoman says Daschle “naively” believed that the Cadillac and driver provided gratis by a business partner was “nothing more than a generous offer from a friend.”

A former Daschle aide reassures us, “He’s the gold standard for integrity in government.” (Precisely the problem, isn’t it?)

The Washington Post reports that none of this is likely to derail Daschle’s confirmation by his former Senate colleagues. “Senators also cited their personal knowledge of Daschle in justifying their willingness to dismiss the tax issue,” writes the Post. “He and his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, donated over the past two years to at least 14 senators who will be tasked with voting on his confirmation.”