Apparently, President Donald Trump found the perfect man to run the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): a tax lawyer who owns property at his International Hotel Waikiki and Tower.
And what’s worse, the nominee failed to disclose these details during the financial disclosure questionnaire that all nominees must answer.
In a memo circulated to Senate Finance Committee members, officials said Trump’s nominee, Beverly Hills, California, tax attorney Chuck Rettig, “did disclose these properties, but not their location.” In other words, the important details that link his properties to the president were conveniently left out.
Rettig owns 50 percent stake in two rental units in Honolulu, Hawaii. The property uses the president’s name. And Trump, who gets fees when properties using his name are sold, has probably made some money off his nominee’s purchase.
Despite this potential conflict of interest, the details only came up on a June 21 meeting with congressional staff.
“Committee staff raised this at the nominee’s June 21st due diligence meeting,” the memo stated. “The nominee plans to provide more detail on his Committee Questionnaire to include the full name of the property.”
Still, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch told reporters that the process to vet the candidate was carried out in “good faith.”
“Mr. Rettig has moved through the Finance Committee’s bipartisan vetting process in good faith, providing accurate information regarding his personal finances and other matters," Hatch’s spokeswoman Julia Lawless said. "The properties that he purchased more than 10 years ago were disclosed and vetted in the customary way. Members will have ample opportunity to ask questions and get further clarity on this fact and any questions they may have during tomorrow’s hearing."
Still, the fact that this detail was not openly discussed, and that Trump nominated a person who owns property tied to his name, are probably going to add to the claims that the president doesn’t have a problem with mixing his business with matters of the state.
Once again, it’s clear what Trump says and what Trump does are worlds apart.