The revelation about the hotel seems certain to come up when Chuck Rettig testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.
President Donald Trump’s pick to run the IRS, tax lawyer Chuck Rettig, owns properties at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki and Tower.
He’d previously disclosed his 50 percent stake in a pair of Honolulu rental units, but not their specific location. That detail was discussed later, at a June 21 meeting with congressional staff, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.
Trump typically gets fees on sales for licensing his name.
The document was circulated Wednesday to Senate Finance Committee members ahead of their hearing on Rettig’s nomination, scheduled for Thursday.
“The nominee did disclose these properties, but not their location,” the memo said of Rettig’s original answers to financial disclosure questions that ask nominees to list assets and sources of income that exceed $1,000.
The revelation about the Trump-branded hotel seems certain to come up when Rettig testifies.
“Committee staff raised this at the nominee’s June 21st due diligence meeting,” the memo said. “The nominee plans to provide more detail on his Committee Questionnaire to include the full name of the property.”
Rettig bought the properties in 2006 and they were finished in 2009, the memo said.
Rettig also agreed to revisit the need to provide details on the properties with respect to his ethics agreement, or make any appropriate amendments regarding the properties, the memo said.
It also indicated Rettig failed to report interest income or interest expenses related to a personal loan he made to an unnamed family member.
Rettig, who specializes in handling tax controversies for clients of his firm in Beverly Hills, Calif., made three $200,000 loans to the family member in 2014, and the loans were fully repaid this year, according to the memo.
But Rettig failed to record interest income related to the loans on his 2014, 2015 and 2016 tax returns. In addition, no interest expense related to the loans was deducted in 2014 or 2016, but he deducted $17,856 of interest expense in 2015.
Rettig called the loans an informal family matter, according to the memo, and he was unclear whether the funds would be an equity investment in a business that they were meant to finance or repaid as a loan. But in 2015, his family member began repayments.
The funds should have been treated as a loan at that time, with interest income reported and any interest expense deducted, the memo said, and Rettig has agreed to amend his returns.
A phone message left for Rettig and an email to him weren’t immediately returned.
“Mr. Rettig has moved through the Finance Committee’s bipartisan vetting process in good faith, providing accurate information regarding his personal finances and other matters,” said Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “The properties that he purchased more than ten years ago were disclosed and vetted in the customary way. Members will have ample opportunity to ask questions and get further clarity on this fact and any questions they may have during tomorrow’s hearing.”
Trump nominated Rettig in February to the IRS commissioner post, which was vacated in November, when former Commissioner John Koskinen’s term ended.
Finance Committee staffers reviewed Rettig’s questionnaire, tax returns for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and his financial disclosure statements. The Trump-related hotel and unreported family loan interest were the only two issues staffers raised in their memo to committee members going into Rettig’s nomination hearing.
In addition, he’s likely to get quizzed on clients he’s represented and aggressive positions they’ve taken against the IRS and state tax authorities, and how he’ll make the transition from his management of a relatively small law firm to running the IRS and its massive bureaucracy.
Rettig is also likely to field questions on challenges facing the IRS, from implementing new tax cuts this year to more long-standing problems related to customer service complaints, outdated and outmoded information technology and an aging, shrinking workforce.