Labor Secretary-designate Hilda L. Solis on Thursday became the fourth senior administration nominee in a month to see their Senate confirmation slowed or scuttled over problems with their taxes.
A Senate committee abruptly canceled a confirmation vote on Ms. Solis after news reports that her husband, Sam Sayyad, had 15 outstanding state and county tax liens placed on his Los Angeles auto repair shop.
The White House said that Mr. Sayyad and his wife were unaware of the liens and that Mr. Sayyad had paid the county $6,400 on Wednesday to settle the debt.
However, the revelation compounded the political damage done by the failed nominations of former Sen. Tom Daschle to be secretary of health and human services and of Nancy Killefer to be “chief performance officer” in the White House budget office, both because of tax problems.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was belatedly confirmed last month after contentious hearings prompted by revelations that he had failed to pay self-employment taxes while working for the International Monetary Fund.
The problems are not limited to Obama appointees.
By David M. Dixon
The Washington Times
Al Franken, whose narrow election as senator from Minnesota is being challenged in court by Republican Norm Coleman, was slapped with $25,000 in penalties for failing to pay workers’ compensation for the company he established in New York. He also had to pay $70,000 in back taxes and penalties to 17 states, where he earned income between 2003 and 2006.
Mr. Franken has claimed that he paid taxes on all of his income to Minnesota and New York, where he lived. He said he is due tax refunds of $50,000 from those states.
The spate of tax problems, recalling similar issues with nominees in the past two administrations, has raised questions whether the U.S. tax code is so complex that even Washington insiders and their highly paid accountants cannot navigate the rules.
“The only indictment coming out of these … cases is our complex tax system,” said Pete Sepp, vice president for policy and communication for the National Taxpayers Union…