South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s nomination for a position in Donald Trump’s administration may have hit a snag.
The New York Times reports Mulvaney failed to pay roughly $15,000 in payroll taxes to an individual he hired to act as a babysitter in his home. South Carolina’s Fifth District congressman admitted not paying the taxes in a questionnaire filed with senators on Wednesday. “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. He said he paid the amount after discovering the shortfall.
The Times reported the babysitter was hired to help with newborn triplets in 2000. Mulvaney was a private citizen at the time and was still be six more years away from entereing politics and winning a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives.
Mulvaney is Trump’s choice to lead the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an agency responsible for drafting the President’s proposed budget and estimating the financial impact of any proposed laws or policies.
Senate Democrats pounced on the conservative Republican, who has made his name in Washington with hardline budget positions such as criticizing the federal debt and pushing for large budget cuts. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Trump to withdraw Mulvaney’s name, noting that President Obama’s first nominee for Health and Human Services Tom Daschle withdrew in 2009 after a similar tax issue surfaced involving a former driver.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Schumer said in a statement. “If Tom Daschle couldn’t become a cabinet member for not paying taxes for a household employee, the same standard ought to apply to Mick Mulvaney.”
But Daschle’s gap was a much higher at $130,000 and occurred after his time in the U.S. Senate. Another Obama nominee — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was approved after he repaid $25,000 in payroll taxes he failed to pay during his time at the International Monetary Fund.
Senate Republicans have not yet officially commented on Mulvaney’s status after the revelation.
Trump’s staff has so far insisted Mulvaney is still his nominee. “The fact of the matter is that nobody is more qualified and more prepared to fight to rein in Washington spending and fight for taxpayers than Mick Mulvaney,” transition spokesman John Czwartacki said in a statement. “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.”