The husband of President Obama’s Labor secretary nominee paid about $6,400 Wednesday to settle tax liens that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years against his business, the Obama administration told USA TODAY this afternoon.
The disclosure came shortly before a scheduled 2 p.m. meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will vote on Rep. Hilda Solis’ nomination as labor secretary. The hearing was postponed; no reason was immediately revealed.
At a press conference, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said of Solis: “I read the story in USA TODAY and it quotes somebody who works here. Obviously we know about the story. We reviewed her tax returns and her tax returns are in order.Her husband had an issue.”
“She’s not a partner in that business,” Gibbs said. “We’re not going to penalize her for her husband’s business mistakes.”
Gibbs said he thought Solis’ husband, Sam Sayyad, paid the liens back because he owed the taxes, not because of White House pressure. “The White House believes that if you owe taxes you should pay them,” Gibbs added.
Well, that’s a relief. Of course, if Solis and her husband pay taxes separately, it would be unfair to blame Solis for her husband’s tax problems. But after l’affaire Geithner and l’affaire Daschle and l’affaire Killefer, I would not be in the least bit surprised to find out that the predominant reaction to this story in the Obama Administration is something along the lines of “Oh no. Not again.”