Republicans Won’t Require Rex Tillerson To Turn Over Tax Returns

AP

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson will not be required to turn over his tax returns to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Despite Democrats’ urging, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) said in a statement that tax returns won’t be required.

“He already has submitted a completed nominee questionnaire and will soon submit an extensive financial disclosure. Furthermore, prior to his confirmation hearing, he will go through the same ethics and FBI checks as previous Secretary of State nominees,” Corker said in a press release.

Tax returns have not been required in the past, but given Trump’s cabinet pick’s immense wealth, Democrats have asked for them and argued that Tillerson’s foreign investments are relevant given he is up to be Secretary of State.

“Mr. Tillerson was actively engaged with many foreign governments that could become relevant if confirmed as Secretary of State,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md), the ranking member on the committee wrote. “The Senate has a responsibility to review all relevant documents during the confirmation process.”

The disagreement between the chairman and the ranking member could cast a shadow over the confirmation hearing, but the reality is that with Republicans in control of the Senate and a rules change from 2013 making it impossible for Democrats to stop Trump’s nominees on the floor of the Senate by themselves, Democrats may have very little leverage to control the committee hearings.

Like cabinet nominees in the past, Tillerson will still undergo a background check from the FBI and have an ethics check.

“Prior to his confirmation hearing, he will go through the same ethics and FBI checks as previous Secretary of State nominees,” Corker said. “That has always been the plan, it is already in progress, and I am deeply disappointed my colleagues continue to imply otherwise.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

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