What Does Daschle Have in Common With Panetta?

Leon Panetta, nominated to become CIA director, has his confirmation hearing tomorrow in the Senate intelligence committee. As we reported last month, initial resistance to his nomination from Democrats has faded into the background — but that doesn’t mean the GOP won’t try to make Panetta’s ride as bumpy as possible.

Which brings me to the answer to the question posed above: the common thread between Daschle and Panetta is Catherine Reynolds, the student-loan mogul whose ties to the now-withdrawn health secretary nominee first slowed his roll last month.

As the WSJ reports today, Reynolds — still the subject of a Senate Finance Committee investigation into her company’s tax status — donated upwards of $50,000 to the California public policy think tank that Panetta led until his CIA nomination.

There’s no evidence at all of any impropriety linked to the donation. But knowing Republicans’ love of opposition research, don’t be surprised if you hear Panetta field breathless, faux-concerned GOP questions on this tomorrow.