Editorial: Questionable appointments won’t slow Obama down

Nearly a month after taking office, President Barack Obama’s administration has already come under fire by the media. The president’s policies and officials’ past records have come into play regarding the appointment and nomination of two potential cabinet members, calling Obama’s ethics and government practices into question.

Several nominees have either come under investigation or have withdrawn because of past tax problems:

• Former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., was nominated for Head of Health and Human Services, but withdrew after it was revealed he had failed to report thousands of dollars in charitable donations, car services and consulting incomes.

• Nancy Killefer — who served in President Bill Clinton’s administration as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer — was nominated by Obama for the newly-created Chief Performance Officer position. Like Daschle, it was revealed she had failed to pay numerous taxes dating back to 2005 and subsequently withdrew her name from the nomination.

• Timothy Geithner, the newly-appointed Treasury Secretary, allegedly did not pay $35,000 in self-employment taxes for several years. Geithner was confirmed as Treasury Secretary and has not withdrawn from the position.

• Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., has been nominated by Obama for Secretary of Labor, but her confirmation is pending after it was reported that her husband, auto-shop owner Sam H. Sayyad, paid only $6,400 in outstanding state taxes dating back to 1993.

Critics of the Obama administration have pointed to these nominations as an example of the president’s business ethics and have subsequently called his morals into question, echoing the recent investigation and impeachment of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

After eight years of watching the executive branch duck and dodge media scrutiny, the general public would expect more of the same.

But in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the president admitted his mistakes and assured the country that it would not happen again.

“I think I screwed up,” Obama told Cooper last Tuesday. “And I take responsibility for it and we’re going to make sure we fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”

The president’s willingness to own up to his mistakes is a far cry from the Bush administration’s attempts to twist and pervert media scrutiny to fit its agenda.

It shows the administration is willing to answer honestly to the people for questionable government practices.

It shows the president doesn’t just hear the media’s criticism, but he listens and works to solve problems within his reach.

It shows after eight years of corruption and greed, change has finally come to Washington.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected].