When Donald Trump nominated South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney to lead the Office of Management and Budget it was a great sign that the White House was deadly serious about getting government growth and spending under control. Mulvaney is a hard core budget hawk. Unfortunately, his nomination is looking to be fatally injured:
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for White House budget director failed to pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee, he admitted in a statement to the Senate Budget Committee, the sort of tax compliance issue that has derailed cabinet nominees in the past.
In a questionnaire provided to the committee, Representative Mick Mulvaney, a conservative from South Carolina and vocal proponent of fiscal restraint noted, “I have come to learn during the confirmation review process that I failed to pay FICA and federal and state unemployment taxes on a household employee for the years 2000-2004.”
Mr. Mulvaney said he had subsequently paid more than $15,000 in taxes and awaits the state tax bill, as well as penalties and interests. His confirmation hearing before the committee is scheduled for Jan. 24. The employee was a babysitter hired when Mr. Mulvaney and his wife had triplets in 2000.
There are only four times in the history of the country when a senate controlled by the president’s party refused to confirm his nominee for a position. These are three of them:
In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Zoe E. Baird to be attorney general. Only five days later she asked Clinton to withdraw her nomination.
Her candidacy stumbled on the disclosure that she had hired undocumented immigrants and had not paid appropriate taxes on their wages…
In 2001, President George W. Bush’s nomination of Linda Chavez to be secretary of labor was similarly short-lived. She had offered shelter and financial support to an undocumented immigrant.
Although she denied employing the immigrant, the revelation raised questions for senators and the public about her candidacy…
George W. Bush ran into trouble again when he nominated Bernard Kerik to head the Department of Homeland Security in 2004. Unpaid taxes on domestic workers of unclear immigration status precipitated Bush’s decision to withdraw Kerik’s name…
The Trump transition team is making supportive noises:
In a prepared statement, John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the Trump transition team, said: “Nobody is more qualified and more prepared to rein in Washington spending and fight for taxpayers than Mick Mulvaney. Congressman Mulvaney raised the issue surrounding the care of his premature triplets immediately upon being tapped for this position, and has taken the appropriate follow-up measures. The administration fully stands behind Representative Mulvaney.”
But if you’ve been around Washington very long you know what “fully stands behind” means: you’re on your own, buddy.
Trump’s people may fight this, but, given the range war going on between Trump and the Office of Government Ethics this may be a bridge too far.
I think we can probably stick a fork in Mulvaney.