Hearing about Solis Nomination for DoL Held Up

The pending nomination of U.S. Representative Hilda Solis (D-California) as Department of Labor (DoL) secretary was put off after word that her husband has paid $6,400 to settle outstanding tax liens.

A closed session of the U.S. Senate committee has been stalled. A joint statement issued Thursday afternoon by U.S. Senators Edward Kenney (D-Massachusetts) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming) said the hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee was delayed “to allow members additional time to review the documentation submitted in support of Representative Solis’ nomination to serve in the important position of Labor Secretary.”

At about the same time as Kennedy, chairman of the HELP Committee, and Enzi, ranking minority member, released their statement Thursday, USA Today posted a story on its Web site reporting the tax payments by Sam Sayyad, husband of Solis.

Outstanding Liens

The newspaper said Los Angeles County records showed 15 outstanding state and county tax liens against Sayyad and his auto repair business, totaling $7,630. Two other liens worth $981 were released in 1999 after Sayyad repaid the taxes owed, according to county records.

Eleven of the tax liens seek delinquent county taxes on unsecured property, which includes business equipment other than real estate, according to the news report. Two liens, from 1994 and 1996, are for $1,255 in unpaid state sales taxes. The remaining two, from 1994 and 1995, are for $786 in unpaid county health and safety permit fees.

According to the newspaper, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Solis and Sayyad were unaware of the liens until the newspaper inquired about them. Vietor said Sayyad paid about $6,400 to Los Angeles County on Wednesday to settle the liens, but he plans to appeal.

Solis’ financial disclosures list Sayyad’s business, Sam’s Foreign and Domestic Auto Center, as one of the couple’s main assets, worth between $50,000 and $100,000, according to USA Today. The disclosure form Solis filed after her nomination also lists bank accounts containing between $250,000 and $500,000.

The Kennedy-Enzi statement indicated that, despite the delay, there were no member “holds” on the Solis nomination and that “members on both sides of the aisle remain committed to giving her nomination the fair and thorough consideration that she deserves.” Lawmakers objecting to a nomination can slow down the process until the nominee satisfies their objections.

“We will continue to work together to move this nomination forward as soon as possible,’ the Kennedy-Enzi statement declared.

Other Tax Problems

Personal tax problems have tripped up three of President Obama’s nominees for top administration jobs. Two nominees withdrew on Tuesday over tax issues, including Tom Daschle, Obama’s choice head the Health and Human Services Department (see “Daschle Drops Out).

The other withdrawal was chief performance officer nominee Nancy Killeher, who had a $947 tax lien filed against her in Washington four years ago for not paying unemployment compensation taxes for a household employee. She paid the debt less than six months later, District of Columbia records show.