Lael Brainard’s “Transparency” with Personal Taxes and Household Employees

Friday, January 7, 2022 // Research

Brainard “Transparency” with Household Employees

During Lael Brainard’s 2009 nomination hearing for her appointment as Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs, many Senators voiced their concerns over Brainard’s lack of transparency and promptness with handing over tax returns and employment forms. Senator Grassley commented that “the lack of candor, accuracy, and timeliness in addressing these issues has been discouraging.” The Senate Finance Committee also had to submit ten sets of questions before getting complete information about her late payments.

To be clear, Brainard, who was at the time a nominee for a senior position with the Department of Treasury:

  • Had been late with property tax payments 4 years in a row.
  • Had been late paying her taxes on over 11 different occasions.
  • Had failed to complete the required paperwork for household employees in 2008.
  • Was forced to revise her tax deduction for her home office after Senate staff discovered she was taking on an overly generous deduction.

It is troubling that a nominee for Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, a key government entity responsible for banking regulatory authorities and monetary policy, is not prompt with ensuring timeliness and candor in her own tax returns and employment benefit payments.

Brainard also had questions on the immigration status of one or more of her household employees. In 2009, she claimed her accounting firm changed their recordkeeping procedures and was “unable to locate a copy of the recently hired employee’s I-9.” This is an unacceptable response from a high-level nominee, and since housekeeping is rife with fraud and immigration, it is imperative Brainard release all of her I-9 forms (Employee Eligibility Verification) to ensure she is only employing those authorized to work in the United States.

Ultimately, how can the American people have full faith and trust in a nominee who doesn’t pay taxes on time and is not fully forthcoming on all her tax returns and employee forms?