Senate Finance Committee Advances IRS Commissioner Nominee

August 9, 2018
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By a vote of 14 to 13, along party lines, the Senate Finance Committee recently voted to advance Charles Rettig’s nomination as IRS Commissioner to the full Senate. Rettig is a tax attorney at the Beverly Hills law firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C. who has spent most of his career representing clients before the IRS.

If he is confirmed by the full Senate, he would succeed acting commissioner David Kautter, who is also the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy. Kautter has been acting commissioner since the end of John Koskinen’s term last November. Rettig would be coming in at a time when the IRS is dealing with the tax reform law that Congress passed last December.

“For the IRS to implement the biggest tax overhaul in a generation, it is essential that the agency is fully staffed and led by a strong, capable commissioner,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in a statement. “The job of commissioner is further complicated by years of mistrust and scandals at the agency. Chuck Rettig is the right pick to both implement tax reform and restore trust in the IRS. I am pleased that the committee advanced his nomination, and I look forward to the Senate acting quickly on his nomination so he can get started on the hefty tasks he will be charged with as the agency’s leader.”

Democrats on the committee voted against confirming Rettig, in part as a protest against the IRS and the Treasury Department’s recent decision to let 501(c)4 tax-exempt organizations, such as political action groups, avoid listing the names of their donors. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden said he would oppose Rettig’s nomination unless Rettig commits to restoring the donor disclosure requirement. “The Trump administration has taken a qualified nominee and dumped him right in the middle of a dark-money political firestorm of their own creation,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the committee. “And a radical change in tax law regarding transparency and disclosure has dragged the IRS and Treasury into a swirling set of questions about the president’s foreign financial ties and motivations. As a result, this nomination is no longer an isolated debate that can begin without context.”