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Senate Approves Nomination of Kautter to Top Treasury Tax Post

Posted on August 4, 2017 by Wesley Elmore, David van den Berg

The Senate on August 3 approved the nomination of David J. Kautter to serve as Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy.

In his new role, Kautter will play a crucial role in developing the Trump administration’s tax reform policies. At his confirmation hearing last month, Kautter stressed the importance of simplifying the tax code for both individuals and businesses. After the hearing, he told Tax Analysts he was unaware of the details of ongoing tax reform talks. He also said tax reform should be revenue neutral using a dynamic score.

Kautter is with RSM US LLP and previously spent more than 30 years at EY. He served as tax counsel to former Sen. John C. Danforth from 1979 to 1982. He is also a member of Tax Analysts’ board of directors.

Kautter’s nomination was approved by unanimous consent as part of a bloc of Treasury nominees that also included the nominations of Christopher Campbell to be Treasury assistant secretary for financial institutions, David Malpass to be Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, and Brent James McIntosh to be Treasury general counsel.

Campbell worked as staff director for the Senate Finance Committee’s majority office, but his Treasury post doesn’t typically play a role in tax policy. Malpass, a former Treasury official, served as a senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. McIntosh is a partner with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in Washington and is co-head of the firm’s cybersecurity practice.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters after the four nomination approvals that they’re “critical” for tax reform, because an “up and running” Treasury is needed to work with Congress on it.

“And these people are particularly smart, particularly competent,” he said.

Campbell, Kautter, Malpass, and McIntosh will be able to help Congress with tax reform throughout the process, Hatch said. “They’re able to help make suggestions on how it should be put together but they’re also people who I think can make the case” for it in a charged political environment, he said.

The four August 3 approvals follow the July appointment of Dana L. Trier as deputy assistant secretary for tax policy. Trier served in that role on an acting basis and in other positions at Treasury in 1988 and 1989, consulting thereafter with the House Ways and Means Committee on corporate and consumption taxation and more recently with the Senate Finance Committee on private equity and hedge fund tax issues.