Puzder Paid Taxes on Undocumented Employee After Labor Secretary Nomination

By Eric Morath and Kristina Peterson White House Dow Jones Newswires

Andy Puzder didn't pay taxes for an undocumented worker he employed as housekeeper for several years until after President Donald Trump nominated him for labor secretary, a spokesman for the fast-food executive said Tuesday. 

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The "taxes were paid recently, since the nomination," said George Thompson, spokesman for Mr. Puzder. 

Mr. Puzder wasn't aware of the housekeeper's immigration status during the four to five years she worked for his family. The woman was terminated after Mr. Puzder discovered she was an illegal immigrant, and offered assistance in obtaining legal status. 

"Andy admitted the mistake and has paid all related taxes," Mr. Thompson said. "He has taken all available steps to remediate it." 

The spokesman clarified Tuesday taxes were only paid after Mr. Trump made his pick in early December. The employment of the housekeeper and a related tax issue were disclosed Monday. The housekeeper worked part time for the Puzder household. 

The status of Mr. Puzder's former housekeeper further complicates his slow-moving confirmation process. The Labor Department oversees how U.S. labor laws, including wage-and-hour rules, apply to immigrant workers. 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Mr. Puzder still had his full support. "We're always looking for nominees who've never made a mistake," he told reporters Tuesday. "Frequently it's impossible to find nominees who've never made a mistake." 

Sen. Lamar Alexander, (R., Tenn.), chairman of the committee overseeing Mr. Puzder's confirmation, said the housekeeper's status shouldn't disqualify the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast-food chains. 

However, another Republican member of that committee, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said she wants to hear more at a confirmation hearing. 

"I want to hear his explanation about that," Ms. Collins said when asked about Mr. Puzder's initial failure to pay taxes on his household employee. "I'm not judging him on that issue until I hear his explanation. I've not talked to him since our initial courtesy meeting some weeks ago." 

Mr. Puzder's confirmation hearing has been delayed indefinitely. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee announced last week it wouldn't hold a hearing on the nomination until Mr. Puzder filed required paperwork to the Office of Government Ethics. 

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