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A fight over tax returns could delay Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings.

Senate Democrats want Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, to release three years’ worth of tax returns, and Republicans argue that is unnecessary under “long-standing precedent” for such confirmation hearings. But the dispute could prevent Tillerson from receiving an expedited hearing ahead of inauguration day that most secretary of state nominees receive.

“I think it is an important part of vetting this candidate because he has never made public disclosures of this type, as he has worked at ExxonMobil for his entire career and has never been in public service,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a publicly-released letter to colleagues.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who will preside over the hearing, is defending Tillerson, noting that the nominee has provided all the standard information required of him. “By all accounts, Mr. Tillerson is currently ahead of schedule in providing information to the committee,” Corker said. “Our committee will carry out exactly the same procedures for Mr. Tillerson’s nomination that have been carried out since well before I joined the committee 10 years ago.”

Corker’s team pointed out that Tillerson returned his questionnaire to the Senate more promptly than Hillary Clinton did when she was nominated for the secretary of state job in 2009. Tillerson took just three days to file the questionnaire, compared to 17 days for Clinton. Senate Democrats aren’t satisfied, however, and justified the extra scrutiny by reference to Tillerson’s history of negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of a private company.

“Mr. Tillerson was actively engaged with many foreign governments that could become relevant if confirmed as secretary of state,” Cardin wrote. “The Senate has a responsibility to review all relevant documents during the confirmation process.”

Corker believes Cardin is simply trying to embarrass President-elect Trump, who refused to release his tax returns throughout the 2016 presidential election.

“He already has submitted a completed nominee questionnaire and will soon submit an extensive financial disclosure,” Corker said. “Furthermore, prior to his confirmation hearing, he will go through the same ethics and FBI checks as previous Secretary of State nominees. That has always been the plan, it is already in progress, and I am deeply disappointed my colleagues continue to imply otherwise.”

Cardin won’t be able to block Tillerson’s confirmation unless he wins Republican votes, but he could annoy the incoming administration by trying to delay the confirmation hearings until after Trump and the new Congress is sworn in. “Until all of these materials are received and staff has had a chance to review them, it will be difficult to lock in a nomination hearing time for the Committee to consider the nominee,” Cardin wrote.

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