Thomas Andrew Daschle ( DASH-əl; born December 9, 1947) is an American politician and lobbyist who served as a United States senator from South Dakota from 1987 to 2005. A member of the Democratic Party, he became U.S. Senate Minority Leader in 1995 and later the Majority Leader in 2001. After leaving the United States Air Force, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1978 and served four terms. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming Minority Leader in 1995 and Majority Leader in 2001, becoming the highest-ranking elected official in South Dakota history. In 2004, he was defeated for reelection in a remarkable upset. Later, he took a position as a policy advisor with a lobbying firm, became a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and co-authored a book advocating universal health care. Daschle was an early supporter of Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, and was nominated by President-elect Obama for the position of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services after the 2008 election. However, Daschle withdrew his name on February 3, 2009, amid a growing controversy over his failure to properly report and pay income taxes. He is currently working for The Daschle Group, a Public Policy Advisory of Baker Donelson, a large law firm and lobbying group.
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