President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee will not be required to fork over his tax returns to the Senate prior to nomination hearings.
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson will not have to submit three years’ worth of tax returns, Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said in a press statement Thursday. Corker’s decision comes over Democratic senators’ demands for just such a disclosure.
“He already has submitted a completed nominee questionnaire and will soon submit an extensive financial disclosure,” the Tennessee Republican said. “Furthermore, prior to his confirmation hearing, he will go through the same ethics and FBI checks as previous Secretary of State nominees.”
Corker, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also said that it was a “long-standing precedent” to not ask secretary of state nominees for their tax returns.
Tillerson has received the support from Republican stalwarts such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.
Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona are a little more skeptical and have called for thorough confirmation hearing process to assure there are no conflicts of interests.
Democrats meanwhile believe that Tillerson’s past business dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with his financial connections with various international businesses, require the Senate to treat the Exxon head’s nomination differently.
“Mr. Tillerson was actively engaged with many foreign governments that could become relevant if confirmed as Secretary of State,” Democratic Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the ranking member of on the committee wrote in a letter requesting the submission. “The Senate has a responsibility to review all relevant documents during the confirmation process.”
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