Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder said Monday evening that he had employed a housekeeper who did not have the proper documents to work in the United States.
“My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S.,” Puzder said in a written statement Monday. “When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the state of California and submitted all required paperwork.”
The admission should not impact his confirmation hearing, said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will hold the confirmation hearing. “Based upon what I’ve learned, since Mr. Puzder reported his mistake and voluntarily corrected it, I do not believe that this should disqualify him from being a cabinet secretary.” His hearing was delayed for the fourth time last week and has yet to be rescheduled.
It’s unclear when Puzder employed the undocumented housekeeper or whether the revelation is the reason behind the delay in his confirmation hearing. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns burger chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.
The Office of Government Ethics has yet to review Puzder’s review of his finances. An FBI background check also has not been completed.
Puzder isn’t the first Trump Cabinet nominee to have issues with not paying taxes on a household employee. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, the staunch conservative nominated to become President-elect Donald Trump’s budget chief, failed to pay more than $15,000 in federal payroll taxes for a past household employee, he told the Senate Budget Committee in a questionnaire.
It's unclear how much Democrats will rise to oppose Puzder, although Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York has identified him as one of the eight his caucus likes the least, and Democrats are in the midst of a slowdown of nominations on the floor.
Vice President Mike Pence is expected today to break a 50-50 tie on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Education secretary, marking the first time a Cabinet secretary would be confirmed with a tie-breaking vote.