March 31st, 2009
08:30 PM ET
9 years ago

Sebelius reveals she owed back taxes

(CNN) — Kathleen Sebelius revealed Tuesday that she recently paid nearly $8,000 in back taxes and interest, becoming the sixth Obama nominee to have tax issues.

In the letter, released Tuesday by the committee and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Kansas governor said she had errors in her 2005, 2006 and 2007 tax returns.

Sebelius said she did not have letters supporting three charitable contributions she and her husband made and deducted, and had "insufficient documentation required to claim some deductions for business expenses."

Also, she and her husband sold their home for an amount less than their outstanding mortgage balance, and mistakenly continued to deduct the interest. The couple also treated a home equity loan the same way.

As a result, they have now paid $7,040 in taxes and $878 in interest.

In her letter to the Democratic Chairman and ranking Republican of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction of her nomination, Sebelius said she and her husband learned of their tax errors from a Certified Public Accountant, whom they hired after she was nominated for HHS Secretary.

“That evaluation revealed unintentional errors, which we immediately corrected by filing amended returns,” said Sebelius in her letter.

Finance Chairman Max Baucus immediately released a statement saying he still supports her nomination.

“Congress is going to need a strong partner at the Department of Health and Human Services to achieve comprehensive health reform this year, and we have that partner in Governor Sebelius,” said Baucus. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Governor Sebelius has the political experience, determination, and bipartisan work ethic to get the job done with Congress this year. She’s the right person for the job and I look forward to hearing from her at the Finance Committee’s hearing on Thursday.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. Charles Grassley, ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, says he is reserving judgment.

"Sen. Grassley generally reserves judgment on nominees until the vetting process, including the nomination hearing, is completed," said Press Secretary Jill Gerber. "He gives the nominees a chance to give their point of view on all relevant issues, including any tax issues that have come to light through the standard committee vetting process."

President Obama’s first nominee for HHS Secretary, Tom Daschle, withdrew from consideration earlier this year after controversy erupted over nearly $150,000 dollars in unpaid taxes and interest.

Other Obama nominees with tax issues:

Hilda Solis owed $6,400, but was confirmed as Labor Secretary.
Timothy Geithner owed $34,000, but was confirmed as Treasury Secretary, which oversees the IRS.

Ron Kirk owed $10,000, but was confirmed as US Trade Represenatative.

And Nancy Killefer owed $947, but withdrew from the post of Presidnet Obama’s Chief Performance Office

Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius
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