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Spouse’s tax problems dog nominee

Solis (Susan Walsh / The Spokesman-Review)
Solis (Susan Walsh / The Spokesman-Review)

WASHINGTON – Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis became the latest Cabinet nominee to face questions about unpaid taxes Thursday as a Senate panel abruptly postponed a scheduled vote on her confirmation.

The postponement came after revelations that Solis’ husband settled tax liens on his California auto repair business this week that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

The discovery posed another political headache for a White House already chafing after tax problems and other controversies derailed some administration appointments. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs insisted that Solis’ own tax returns “are in order.”

“She’s not a partner in that business,” Gibbs said. “So we’re not going to penalize her for her husband’s business mistakes.”

Asked if the Solis nomination was in trouble, Gibbs said, “I don’t believe it is at all.”

USA Today first reported Thursday that Los Angeles County records showed 15 outstanding state and county tax liens totaling $7,630 against Sam Sayyad and his business.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Solis and Sayyad were unaware of the liens until asked about them this week. He said Sayyad paid about $6,400 to Los Angeles County on Wednesday to settle the liens, but he plans to appeal.

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