And then there were three

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE…. It started with Geithner, it continues with Daschle, and it now includes Killefer.

Nancy Killefer, who failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes on household help, has withdrawn her candidacy to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government, the White House said Tuesday.

Killefer was the second major Obama administration nominee to withdraw and the third to have tax problems complicate their nomination after President Barack Obama announced their selection.

The White House said Obama had accepted Killefer’s decision and that the 55-year-old executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., would explain her reasons for pulling out later Tuesday.

When her selection was announced by Obama on Jan. 7, The Associated Press disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help.

This is what can fairly be described as a “context controversy.” Under normal circumstances, Killefer’s tax issue could probably be overcome. We don’t yet know all the details — would she really withdraw over $900 she failed to pay four years ago? — but it seems, at this point, like a surmountable political problem.

But then, there’s the context. Geithner drew fire for initially failing to pay his tax bill, and now Daschle is dealing with the same problem. Given this, Killefer could get away with some trouble, but failing to pay taxes? Afraid not.

This probably won’t be quite as significant a story as Geithner and Daschle, in part because Killefer is not a well known political figure, and in part because she’d been nominated for a new job that doesn’t currently exist. Still, the controversy itself will nevertheless fuel the Republican talking points on the “many” Democrats who “don’t pay their taxes.”

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