New US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) talks to the media after assuming the leadership role in 2001 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

Here’s a look into the life of former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota.


Birth date: December 9, 1947

Birth place: Aberdeen, South Dakota

Birth name: Thomas Andrew Daschle

Father: Sebastian Daschle

Mother: Betty Daschle

Marriages: Linda (Hall) Daschle (1984-present); Laurie (Fulton) Daschle (divorced in 1983)

Children: with Laurie Daschle: Kelly, Nathan and Lindsay

Education: South Dakota State University, B.A. in Political Science, 1969

Military: US Air Force, 1969-1972


1969-1972 - Serves in the Air Force as an intelligence officer in the Strategic Air Command.

1973-1977 - Aide to South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk.

1978 - Elected to the US House of Representatives in a hotly contested race. After numerous recounts, Daschle is declared the winner over Leo K. Thorsness by 105 votes.

1982 - Is reelected to House with 51.6% of the vote.

1984 - Is reelected to House with 57.4% of the vote.

1986 - Is elected to the US Senate with 51.6% of the vote, the exact same result as 1982.

1989-1999 - Serves as co-chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee with George Mitchell of Maine (1989-1995) and Harry Reid of Nevada (1995-1999).

1992 - Reelected to the Senate with 64.9% of the vote.

1995-2001 - Serves as Senate minority leader, succeeding Mitchell.

1995-2005 - Serves as chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference.

1995 - Along with his wife, FAA official Linda Daschle, is involved in a scandal concerning the Federal Aviation Administration and B&L Aviation, a small airline which had trouble passing safety inspections and whose owner was a family friend. Daschle is accused of improperly asserting influence to reduce the amount of inspections B&L received. The incident is later cleared by the Transportation Department and the Senate Ethics Committee.

1996 - Co-chairs the Democratic National Convention with Richard Gephardt, the Democratic House minority leader.

1998 - Reelected to a third term in the Senate with 62.1% of the vote.

June 6, 2001 - Becomes Senate majority leader by one vote after Jim Jeffords quits the Republican Party.

October 2001 - A Daschle aide opens a letter containing anthrax. The Hart Senate Building staff are evacuated, tested for anthrax, and given a 60-day supply of antibiotics.

January 2003-2005 - Serves as Senate minority leader.

January 7, 2003 - Daschle announces that he will not be running for president in 2004 and will remain in the Senate.

November 2, 2004 - Loses his Senate seat to Republican John Thune.

March 5, 2005-2009 - Serves as special public policy adviser at the Washington branch of law firm Alston & Bird.

December 2, 2006 - Announces that he will not be running for president in 2008.

2007 - Co-founds the Bipartisan Policy Center with George Mitchell, Bob Dole and Howard Baker.

December 11, 2008 - US President-elect Barack Obama nominates Daschle to be secretary of Health and Human Services and director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

January 8, 2009 - Confirmation hearings for Daschle begin in the Senate.

February 2, 2009 - In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, Daschle admits to errors on his tax returns. The issue involves Daschle’s use of a car and driver he didn’t disclose on his income taxes, and nonpayment of taxes on more than $80,000 he earned in consulting fees after leaving the Senate. He paid $146,000 in back taxes and interest to correct the errors.

February 3, 2009 - Announces that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as secretary of Health and Human Services.

November 18, 2009-October 2014 - Senior policy adviser for business law firm DLA Piper.

2013 - His book “The US Senate: Fundamentals of American Government” is published.

October 2014 - Daschle leaves DLA Piper and forms The Daschle Group, a public policy advisory of the Baker Donelson law firm.

November 2, 2017 - Daschle and his son Nathan Daschle are named two of Capitol Hill’s top lobbyists in 2017.

May 20, 2019 - Northern Swan Holdings, a cannabis investment firm, announces that Daschle has joined its advisory board.

October 23, 2019 - Co-authors an Op-Ed in The Washington Post, along with former Sen. Trent Lott, titled “The Senate can hold a fair impeachment trial. We did it in 1999.”

May 20, 2021 - Is named a special adviser to Field Trip Health Ltd, a provider of psychedelic-assisted therapy.