(Adds confirmation hearing date)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON Feb 8 The U.S. Senate panel tasked
with vetting labor secretary nominee and fast-food executive
Andrew Puzder will hold his confirmation hearing on Feb.16, now
that his ethics paperwork has been submitted to Congress, a
committee spokesman said Wednesday.
Puzder's certification from the Office of Government Ethics
arrived at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions exactly two months after Puzder was nominated to the
job by President Donald Trump.
A spokesman for Puzder, George Thompson, said he expects
that Puzder will turn in a separate questionnaire to the
committee by Thursday morning.
Puzder is the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants
Inc, which owns primarily franchised restaurants
including Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.
Tentative plans for Puzder's hearing have been repeatedly
postponed amid delays with a review by the Office of Government
Those stem from the complexities surrounding how Puzder will
divest himself from CKE Restaurants, which is owned by private
equity firm Roark Capital Group.
Other companies in Roark Capital's portfolio include Corner
Bakery, Cinnabon, Arby's, Carvel and Auntie Anne's.
Senate Democrats have been highly critical of Puzder, a
staunch critic of an overtime rule championed by the former
His nomination has sparked protests around the country by
some CKE fast-food workers and the union-backed "Fight for $15"
movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Workers from a number of CKE's franchised locations have
also complained of wage and hour concerns and other labor
conditions in recent weeks.
In a letter to Puzder sent on Wednesday before the ethics
paperwork was sent to the Senate, the committee's ranking
Democrat, Patty Murray, said she wanted to receive a "detailed
account" of his plans for recusals, divestments and resignations
in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest stemming from
his business relationship with Roark Capital Group.
"The franchise model's pervasive presence in the fast food
industry, the frequency of serious labor violations connected
with franchising and your past or present financial interest in
Roark raise questions regarding your ability to faithfully carry
out the Department of Labor's mandate," Murray wrote.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Chris Reese, Leslie
Adler and David Gregorio)