January 15,2014

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Baucus Backs Nominees for Customs, U.S. Tax Court

Finance Committee Also Approves Nominees for Deputy Treasury Secretary and International Trade Commission

WASHINGTON –In a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) backed the nominations of R. Gil Kerlikowske to serve as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Tamara W. Ashford to serve as a judge on the U.S. Tax Court and Judge L. Paige Marvel to serve a second term on the U.S. Tax Court.  The committee also unanimously approved the nominations of Sarah Bloom Raskin to be deputy secretary of the Treasury Department and Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein to be a member of the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“The three nominees before us today are all dedicated public servants,” Senator Baucus said.  “If confirmed, they will bring an impressive array of diversity and experience to the job at hand.”

Kerlikowske is currently the director of national drug control in the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, a position he has held since 2009. From 2000 to 2009, he served as chief of police in Seattle, Washington. From 1998 to 2000, he was deputy director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1994 to 1999, he was police commissioner of Buffalo, New York.  Kerlikowske served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972, and in the Army Reserve from 1972 to 1976. He received a B.A. and an M.A. as well as a D.H.L. from the University of South Florida.

“CBP plays a crucial role in maintaining the flow of trade across our borders, processing nearly $2.5 trillion worth of goods every year, and it must ensure this process is thorough and efficient,” Senator Baucus said. “If confirmed, Mr. Kerlikowske will be entrusted with developing policy that has broad effects on America’s economy and safety – a charge he is highly qualified to execute.”

Marvel currently serves as a judge of the U.S. Tax Court, a position she has held since April 1998.  Before becoming a judge at the U.S. Tax Court, she worked extensively in the private sector.  She received a B.A. from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Ashford is currently the deputy assistant attorney general for appellate and review in the Tax Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a position she has held since 2011. Previously, Ashford served as a senior advisor to the commissioner at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and also the U.S. director for the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre.  From 2004 to 2007, she served as assistant to the IRS commissioner. She also has experience in the private sector.  Ashford received her A.B. from Duke University, J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, and an L.L.M. from the University of Miami School of Law.

The United States Tax Court hears a variety of tax law-related cases and gives taxpayers a dedicated venue to dispute IRS claims.  As judges on the Tax Court, Marvel and Ashford would help ensure the fair administration of the nation’s tax laws.

“The Tax Court gives Americans a venue and a voice to address legitimate tax concerns.  It helps guarantee fair administration of our tax laws, and it hears 30,000 cases each year.  It is a cornerstone of America’s tax system.  Judges must be willing to put in long hours and endure a busy travel schedule.  The job will be difficult.  But Ms. Ashford and Judge Marvel are the right people to take it on,” Senator Baucus said.

The committee also unanimously approved the nominations of Raskin and Schmidtlein in an open executive session held off the floor.  The two nominees were previously approved on December 13, 2013.

Raskin has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System since 2010.  From 2007 to 2010, she served as commissioner of financial regulation for the State of Maryland, and from 1993 to 1998, she served as banking counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.  Raskin also worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Joint Economic Committee.  In addition, she has extensive experience in the private sector.  Raskin received a B.A. from Amherst College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Schmidtlein served as a consultant to the World Bank on projects seeking to strengthen accounting regulation and oversight.  Schmidtlein also worked in the Office of International Affairs at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board as director from 2005 to 2011 and special counsel to the chairman from 2003 to 2005.  Previously, she served as associate general counsel for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from 1999 to 2003, and assistant general counsel from 1998 to 1999.  She has also worked for the Department of Justice and taught law at George Washington University.  Schmidtlein received a B.S. from University of Missouri and a J.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.