It’s Jan. 17 editorial is headed “Obama nominees off on wrong foot.” It goes on two address two cabinet level appointments:

Of Secretary of Treasury nominee Timothy Geithner it states: “…there is a terrible irony in having a tax scofflaw run a federal department that oversees the Internal Revenue Service.”

Of Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, it says “…Holder did not do his homework in the pardon of fugitive financier Mark Rich, whose [former] wife happened to be a big financial supporter of the Democratic Party.”

WATCHDOG: President-elect Obama not only is “off on the wrong foot” but he is shooting himself in the foot, ramming through appointments of two individuals that, no matter how great their talent, have knowingly acted reprehensibly and thus forfeited their right to high offices.

According to “Geithner failed to pay $34,000 in self-employment taxes from 2001 to 2004 for money he earned while he worked at the International Monetary Fund. He paid some of the taxes in 2006 after an Internal Revenue Service audit discovered the discrepancy for the years 2003 and 2004. But it wasn’t until two years later, days before President Obama tapped him to head Treasury last November, that Geithner paid back taxes he owed for the years 2001and 2002.”

How can this be justified, for any prospective cabinet official, let alone one in charge of the Internal Revenue Service?

Even worse, in our opinion, then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder took his order from above at Bill Clinton’s worse moment as president. Holder rammed through a pardon for Public Enemy and indeed World Enemy #1, Marc Rich. A fugitive from U. S. law, Rich earned billions by channeling goods around embargoes established by the U. S. and other nations. He even traded in selling uranium to dubious states against the law!

When queried about this sordid act by Senator Arlen Specter and others, Holder could give no feasible explanation for his failure to follow normal due dilligence and simply continued to say “I made a mistake.” But it wasn’t a mistake; it was purposeful. Accidents, oversights and well meaning wrong decisions can be forgiven; not wilful dereliction of duty.

Barrack Obama would be wise to withdraw these nominees. Otherwise the appointments will seriously undermine the image of probity and decency with which he has sought to cloak his leadership and which induced many of us to vote for him.

Updated: May 7, 2009 — 2:30 pm