USTR Nominee Latest to Face Tax Problems

Posted March 2, 2009 at 3:32pm

Former Dallas Mayor Ronald Kirk, President Barack Obama’s pick for U.S. trade representative, misfiled taxable income and owes about $9,975, according to a Senate Finance Committee report released Monday. Kirk, who will appear before the Finance panel next week for his confirmation hearing, paid additional taxes on income earned from speaking engagements. He also misfiled donations made to his alma mater Austin College, entertainment expenses for professional basketball tickets and accounting fees. Kirk recently filed an amended return to correct his taxes from 2005 to 2007, the Finance Committee report said. While his missteps are minor compared with the $128,000 in back taxes owed by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who was forced to withdraw his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary, Kirk is the fifth Obama administration appointee to run into tax problems. Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who maintained his support for both Daschle and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner when they were entangled in tax controversies, came out today with a similarly strong backing for Kirk. “Mayor Kirk is the right person for this job and I will work to move his nomination quickly. I am confident he can successfully restore the confidence of Congress and the American people in a balanced international trade agenda,— Baucus said. “I look forward to his testimony before the Finance Committee next week.—