Andy Puzder, President Donald Trump’s embattled nominee for Labor secretary, is entangled in another controversy. The fast-food CEO admitted that he and his wife employed an undocumented housekeeper. Puzder said in a statement that he was “unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S. When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status.” Puzder added he paid federal and state back taxes; the housekeeper reportedly declined the offer for immigration assistance.
This is just the latest setback for Puzder, whose confirmation — pushed back four times — has now been postponed indefinitely. The head of the restaurant group that includes Carl Jr. and Hardee’s still has not filed the required paperwork to the Senate, including financial disclosure forms. Puzder’s nomination has also come under intense scrutiny for his opposition to increasing the minimum wage and other labor laws to protect low-wage hourly workers. Workers at his chain restaurants have also alleged wage theft, and the company has had to pay out millions after lawsuits. Critics have pointed to his sexist ads and domestic-violence allegations as disqualifying factors.
And while opposition is mounting to Puzder — along with many of Trump’s not-yet-confirmed nominees — this probably isn’t Nannygate, especially because similar issues have plagued two other Trump picks: Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross and South Carolina representative Mick Mulvaney, selected to head the Office of Management and Budget. Ross fired an undocumented housekeeper right before his hearings after re-checking paperwork before going before the Senate. Mulvaney allegedly just paid more than $15,000 in back taxes for a nanny employed years ago, saying he learned about his accounting hiccup while going over paperwork for his potential appointment.
The delays in Puzder’s hearings led to some speculation that the businessman may be trying to get out of becoming Labor secretary. But the on-deck option might be even more unpalatable to the opposition. The Huffington Post reports that the very anti-union Wisconsin governor Scott Walker expressed interest in the job, though Walker has denied those rumors.