WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk was sworn in as new U.S. trade representative Friday, two days after winning Senate confirmation despite a recent revelation that he had failed to pay some federal taxes.
Kirk is "a man who can make a real difference in the lives of American families," Vice President Joe Biden said shortly before administering the oath of office.
"He's like a bulldog. He doesn't let anything go ... (He will) help inspire a new environment of basic fairness in our trade relationships."
A Senate Finance Committee review of Kirk's returns found that he had failed to report as income $37,750 in honoraria collected for 16 speaking engagements between 2005 and 2007. One year, he deducted honoraria from four events as charitable donations though he hadn't reported them as income, according to the committee report.
He also deducted too much for the cost of tickets to see the NBA Mavericks, reporting the entire $17,382 as business expenses, the report said.
Kirk subsequently paid the $9,975 he owed from amended returns.
The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Kirk by a vote of 92-5. The former mayor, who takes office at a time of rising trade tensions with Mexico, has promised to help strike a new balance between a commitment to free trade and concerns relating to environmental and labor standards.