Schumer wants more disclosures from Trump Cabinet picks

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to disclose more financial information ahead of their confirmation hearings, setting the stage for a partisan battle in the upper chamber next month.

Schumer fired off two tweets earlier this week urging the president-elect’s Cabinet picks to submit their tax returns:

The New York Democrat noted that Steven Mnuchin and Tom Price, Mr. Trump’s respective Treasury secretary and Health and Human Services secretary picks, had already filed documents to the Senate, but he said they were “still waiting” for tax returns from secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson and others.

Only three Senate committees require nominees to submit their tax returns: Finance, Budget, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Schumer raised his concerns with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a private letter sent earlier this month, according to a Politico report. He demanded comprehensive financial disclosures, along with checks completed by the FBI and Office of Government Ethics, before confirmation hearings get underway.

In the letter, Politico reported, Schumer also asked his Republican counterpart to hold off on scheduling simultaneous confirmation hearings for Mr. Trump’s nominees, so those senators on multiple committees would be free to attend each confirmation hearing.

McConnell’s staff, for their part, pointed out that there was bipartisan cooperation when President Obama’s nominations were scheduled for hearings. 

Don Stewart, McConnell’s deputy chief of staff, wrote in a statement to CBS News that the two parties “worked together and expeditiously to carefully consider his nominees,” citing the confirmation of nearly all of Mr. Obama’s picks within two weeks of his inauguration in 2009. 

“Sen. Schumer and others approved wholeheartedly of this approach at the time, so surely they won’t object to treating the incoming president’s nominees with the same courtesy and seriousness with which the Senate acted on President Obama’s nominees,” Stewart said.