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Trade pick Kirk owes back taxes

Tue., March 3, 2009

WASHINGTON – Another Obama administration nominee has tax troubles. This time, it’s Ron Kirk, the president’s choice to be U.S. trade representative.

Kirk owes an estimated $10,000 in back taxes from earlier in the decade and has agreed to pay them, the Senate Finance Committee said Monday. The committee said the taxes arise from Kirk’s handling of speaking fees he donated to a scholarship fund that he set up at his alma mater, and for his deduction of the full cost of season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team.

Kirk also agreed to make changes in his accounting of charitable deductions, including reducing the claimed value of a donated television from $3,000 to $1,500.

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said the former Dallas mayor was working to clear up “a few minor issues” uncovered by the Senate committee. LaBolt expressed confidence that Kirk would be confirmed by the Senate.

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