Finance Committee Approves Six Nominations
Panel approved six nominees for positions at the IRS, U.S. Tax Court, Treasury Department and USTR
Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and fellow
Finance Committee members approved six nominations at an open executive session today. The nominations approved by the panel will now move to the full Senate for confirmation. The
approved nominations follow here:
- Mr. Ed Eck, to be a Member of the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board at the U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Mr. Richard T. Morrison, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court
- Mr. David D. Gustafson, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court
- Ms. Elizabeth Crewson Paris, to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court
- The Honorable Eric M. Thorson, to be Inspector General, at the U.S. Department of Treasury
- The Honorable Deanna Tanner Okun, to be Deputy United States Trade Representative within the Executive Office of the President, upon enactment of S.J.Res 38, a resolution removing a statutory bar to her confirmation.
The opening remarks regarding nominations that Baucus delivered at the markup follow here.
“Today, we will consider the nominations of Richard Morrison, David Gustafson, and Elizabeth
Paris, to be Judges on the U.S. Tax Court, Eric Thorson, to be Treasury Inspector General, and Ed Eck, to be a member of the IRS Oversight Board.
“We will consider Senate Joint Resolution 38, in connection with the nomination of Deanna
Okun, to be Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. And we shall consider the Okun nomination,
contingent on the enactment of S.J. Res. 38.
“The increasing complexity of the tax laws demands the appointment of highly skilled judges to
the bench. Mr. Morrison, Mr. Gustafson, and Ms. Paris each bring with them a combination of
government and private sector work in the tax field. I am confident that their experience and
extensive knowledge make them well-suited to be judges on the Tax Court.
“Mr. Thorson has proven to be tough and fair in his current position as Inspector General of the
Small Business Administration. Before that, he served for both the Senate Finance Committee
and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. I believe his wide-ranging
experience will help him be fair and impartial as he carries out his duties as the Treasury
“Ed Eck brings with him 30 years of experience with the tax laws, as a practitioner, as an
Assistant U.S. Attorney, and as an academic. Over the past 30 years, Ed Eck has looked at the
tax laws from all sides. And I believe that this vast array of experience will make him a valuable
member of the IRS Oversight Board.
“Deanna Okun also brings a wealth of experience to the position for which she has been
nominated — the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. She served as a trade and foreign policy
aide to former Senator and Finance Committee Member Frank Murkowski. And she currently
serves as Commissioner of the International Trade Commission, where she oversees the
enforcement of U.S. trade remedies laws.
“I have long urged USTR to beef up its enforcement efforts. I hope that Ms. Okun will use her
enforcement experience at the International Trade Commission to deal with the challenging
enforcement issues that confront USTR, especially at they relate to China and Korea. I look
forward to working with her in this capacity.
“Committee counsel advises, however, that the Trade Act of 1974 bars Ms. Okun’s nomination.
That act prohibits individuals who previously represented a foreign government in specified
matters from serving as USTR or Deputy USTR.
“To help move Ms. Okun’s nomination forward, Senator Grassley introduced the joint resolution
— S.J. Res. 38 — that is before this Committee today. That resolution waives application of this
statutory bar with respect to Deanna Okun.
“The Finance Committee passed a similar resolution to approve Charlene Barshefsky as USTR
during the Clinton Administration. I support passage of this resolution and urge other Senators
on the Committee to do so, as well.
“After the Committee considers S.J. Res. 38, the Committee will order the Okun nomination
reported, upon enactment of that joint resolution. Thus, the Committee will hold its votes today. But we will only formally report the Okun nomination to the calendar upon enactment of the joint resolution that makes doing so in order.”
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