WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is maintaining support for prospective Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore following reports the conservative commentator has had legal problems, a White House adviser said on Tuesday.
“We stand behind him a hundred percent,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters in Washington.
President Donald Trump said on March 22 that he would be nominating Moore for a seat on the central bank’s board of governors but the president has yet to send a formal nomination to the Senate.
Kudlow’s comments follow reports about a $75,000 federal tax lien against Moore filed in Maryland, and a contempt of court citation in Virginia for overdue spousal and child support from a 2011 divorce.
The overdue payments to his ex-wife were resolved in 2013, according to copies of the divorce records posted online by the Guardian newspaper, which first reported on the matter. The records have been put under seal by a judge in Virginia.
Moore could not immediately be reached for comment. He has disputed the government’s claim he owes back taxes.
Moore, who helped write Trump’s signature tax plan and was an adviser to his presidential campaign, is widely seen as a Trump loyalist, although he has said he would be an independent voice at the central bank.
He has appeared to support Trump’s criticism of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who has overseen four interest rate increases since taking the helm at the Fed in February 2018. Moore suggested in a radio interview last year that Trump had cause to fire Powell for “wrecking our economy.”
Moore said on Friday he would consider reversing the central bank’s December interest rate hike but said he was not necessarily in favour of the half-point rate cut recommended by Kudlow.
Before joining the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, Moore had worked as an editorial page writer at the Wall Street Journal. He holds a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University.
Reporting by David Lawder; Additional reporting by Jason Lange and Howard Schneider; Editing by Tom Brown