Texas Senators Offer Mixed Opinions on Kirk

Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:00pm

The Lone Star State’s two Republican Senators appear split over backing fellow Texan Ron Kirk for U.S. trade representative following revelations that he owes nearly $10,000 because of misfiled taxes.

While stopping short of saying he will vote no on Kirk’s nomination, Sen. John Cornyn said he has strong reservations. Cornyn, who ran against Kirk in his 2002 Senate race, said he is “really disappointed— and that Kirk’s tax issues are “not acceptable generally for nominees.”

Cornyn was highly critical of other Obama administration nominees who failed to properly pay their taxes. On Tuesday, Cornyn said, “At some point you have to wonder when it’s going to end.—

But Cornyn’s home-state colleague, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose husband works at the same Dallas-based law firm as Kirk, said Kirk’s tax issues “are certainly understandable— and should not prevent his confirmation as trade representative

“I am very supportive of Ron Kirk. I know him personally and I know his integrity,— she said of the former Dallas mayor. “He was a very good mayor. He was nonpartisan. I just think very highly of him.—

A Senate Finance Committee report released Monday revealed that Kirk owed $9,975 for misfiled donations made to his alma mater, Austin College, along with entertainment expenses for professional basketball tickets and accounting fees.

Kirk is scheduled to appear before the Finance Committee on Monday for his confirmation hearing. Cornyn is a member of the panel.