President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be his White House budget chief has a tax problem.
Representative Mick Mulvaney, the nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, told a Senate committee that he had failed to pay more than $15,000 in taxes for a household employee in the early 2000s. The voluntary disclosure came in response to a query that has become standard for presidential nominees seeking Senate confirmation: Have you ever failed to pay your taxes?
“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,” Mulvaney wrote as part of his response. He said that he had since paid some $15,583 to the Internal Revenue Service in back taxes, but that the amount he owed in state taxes and possible penalties or fines was still being determined.
In the past, such disclosures have imperiled the nominations of high-level presidential picks—most memorably in 1993, when Zoë Baird, President Bill Clinton’s nominee for attorney general, was forced to withdraw amid revelations that she had hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny and failed to pay the requisite employment taxes. In 2009, tax issues embroiled two of President Obama’s nominees, Timothy Geithner for treasury secretary and Tom Daschle for health and human services secretary. Geithner eventually won confirmation, but Daschle withdrew. The taxes he owed, however, totaled about $140,000—nearly 10 times more than the total Mulvaney reported underpaying.