October 24,2005

Baucus Calls on Supreme Court Nominee to Furnish Tax Returns

Senator Presses for Miers’ Tax Returns

(WASHINGTON, DC) – With Supreme Court nomination hearings set to start in early November, U.S. Senator Max Baucus today called on Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers to comply with his October 12 letter requesting copies of her Federal income tax returns.

“The constitutional process for confirming the President’s nominees is designed to build public confidence in government by demonstrating the high level of integrity of those appointed,” Baucus, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said. “What people do on their tax returns is a window into what they would do in private and is a good barometer of their integrity, character and suitability for office.”

In September, Senator Baucus wrote to the White House requesting that nominees to the Supreme Court, including Judge John Roberts, submit copies of their Federal tax returns as part of the confirmation process. Ms. Harriet Miers, then Counsel to the President, denied the request suggesting that nominee answers to a committee questionnaire and information contained in the background investigation are sufficient.

Baucus noted that those nominated to important positions in government, particularly those who serve in judgment of others, have a duty and responsibility to assure the American public they have the highest ethical standards and are paying their fair share of taxes. The information currently provided by the Administration regarding a nominee’s tax status does not include an independent review of recently filed tax returns.

“As part of the Finance Committee’s rigorous due diligence process, all nominees are required to submit copies of their tax returns for review,” Baucus said. “This requirement applies whether the nominees are for the President’s Cabinet, the U.S. Tax Court or part-time positions on various government boards. It is important to the Constitutional process of advice and consent for the Senate to have access to information relevant to make informed decisions and not to rely on the Executive Branch to provide oversight.”

In releasing the exchange of letters, Senator Baucus emphad that confidentiality afforded to tax returns will be protected.

“A review of a Supreme Court nominee’s tax returns is vital to the confirmation process and can be accomplished without needlessly evading the confidential protection afforded tax returns,” Baucus said.Senator Baucus correspondence with the White House is attached.