Obama Trade Nominee May Help Nintendo, But Needs to Pay His Taxes First

Last week Nintendo appealed to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative for help with global piracy issues

President Barack Obama’s nominee for the position may ultimately decide to help Nintendo out, but he’ll need to pay his back taxes first.

CNN reports that Obama’s choice as USTR, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, owes nearly $10,000 to the IRS:

The [Senate Finance] committee found that Kirk failed to report as income $37,750 in honoraria collected for 16 speaking engagements at Austin College… He also deducted too much for the cost of tickets to see the NBA Mavericks, reporting the entire $17,382 as business expenses…

"The mayor is working with the Finance Committee on a few minor issues," White House spokesman Ben Labolt said, adding that the "nomination is on track."

"The president nominated Mayor Kirk because of his proven ability at the negotiating table — building consensus between opposing stakeholders in Dallas and crafting deals to create opportunities for U.S. businesses overseas," Labolt said.

CNN notes that Kirk is the fourth Obama nominee to face criticism over tax payment issues.

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  1. Baruch_S says:

    Do you think he was the one doing all the amazing campaign stuff? He had an entire army running PR cover, and the media was eating outof his hand. Now he’s the president; he has to do something. He gets judged by his actions instead of his speeches, and he gets judged more harshly because all the attention is on him instead of divided between him and another candidate.

    That aside, he is royally screwing up his nominations. Just bringing all these tax evaders into his cabinet during an economic crisis is going to piss a lot of people off and make them question why he’s putting a bunch of lawbreakers in high political offices.

  2. BrandonL337 says:

    I know right, and I thought McCain was a shitty vetter with Palin and all but jeez, Obama I mean I still support you but really you can take more time to pick your cabinate, the economy isn’t that bad.

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  3. gamadaya says:

    What the fuck Obama! Does this guy even vet his nominations. Like, at all? Man, he handled the campain so well, but he’s been fucking up left and right with his cabinet. He’s just providing cannon fodder to the Conservatives now. Speaking of which, I haven’t read many comments on this article, but I am willing to bet about 30-40% of them are Austin_Lewis bitching about this. The first one was anyway.


    Internet troll > internet paladin

  4. Krono says:

    My personal view is that he’s welcome to keep nominating them if it means they get exposed and have to pay up. Even better if they have to pay up, but still lose their appointment.


  5. Baruch_S says:

    I think this is all part of Obama’s plan. He’s nominating all sorts of rich tax evaders so he can exact taxes from them and put them into stimulating the economy.

  6. Good Lord says:

    I think it’s telling that the only people who describe Obama as the "messiah" are right-wingers slamming the people who voted for him.

    Just sayin’.

  7. Baruch_S says:

    That’s true. Timing and Bush’s legacy did have a lot to do with it. I think the way he portrayed himself as something different from Bush was just another facet of deceiving the sheeple. He used whatever he could to convince the people he was the political messiah, and now they’re starting to see that his Hope and Change are all they were cracked up to be during the election.

  8. JustChris says:

    Damn, then what we need then is dissent that doesn’t get in the way of political unity. Because unity without the freedom to dissent just sounds like fascism. I’m all for attacking your president, as long as you don’t do it on baseless grudges like a fair-weather sports fan on game day. A lot of people (not talking about here) treat politics like sports, that’s where they get the fair-weather sheep mentality.

    Anyways, one thing I agree with Obama 100% with is ending Bush’s habit of putting war expenses on a supplemental budget. The US governement should have ONE budget for everything, and that’s the end of it. It’s one of the few things with which Obama is showing total transparency.


  9. JustChris says:

    Flashy words did help, but timing took care of the rest. A lot of people were pissed at the war, and then the slumping economy. Without these problems Obama would’ve probably been a no-show. The sheeple that elected him saw him as a phoenix rising out of the ashes of Bush’s adminstration.


  10. JustChris says:

    I don’t see what’s so hard for a government to tax at a flat percentage rate all across the range of incomes and just adjust one single number to reflect the economic climate at the moment (whether it’s good or bad). It’s easier to calculate, seeing that what they take away doesn’t exponentially increase in proportion to your gross income.


  11. Dragoon1376 says:

    None that I can recall.  Denver is definitely a blue city so I see a lot of the pro-Obama pre-election bumper stickers everywhere.

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  12. Baruch_S says:

    I never said that. I think both parties have their fair share of sheeple; I just happen to think that Obama got elected by tricking a large number of sheeple into thinking he was a good choice with pretty-but-meaningless speeches and promises. And it’s kind of hard/pointless to bash the conservative sheeple when they don’t have the power to do anything on the federal level.

  13. jds says:

    The spending bill doles money to charities. Now the "Change You Can Believe In" is deciding which charities get money. This just keeps getting better.

    Big Government: Republicans broke ranks with Conservatives and ran to it; screwing it up along the way, and now Democrats are increasing it. Saul Alinsky is smiling somewhere.

    . . Wisdom begins in wonder. – Socrates . .

  14. Good Lord says:

    I still have yet to see anyone walking around with a tshirt that has Obama’s face on it with the message "Not my President."  Or a bumper sticker with some reference to the 2013 (or is it 2012?) inauguration date.

    You haven’t seen a "NOBAMA" bumper sticker yet? Really? Wow. They’re all over the place, and I live in California.

  15. Mr.Pat says:

    No, you actually didn’t say they deserved equal blame, you placed all of the blame on the democratic party and dismissed the rest as blind hatred of Bush. In two posts you blamed Obama voters for all of today’s problems and the democratic party for all the past problems. Not once did you put any responsibility on his shoulders.


    And good for you, you deemed the president a failure after 4 days. You gave him 4 days to fix 8 years. Apparantly the last guy somehow deserves upwards of 20 years or more after his term to be looked upon accurately, but Obama can be judged perfectly already. Sound logic, sherlock.

    And where were you when Bush kep stating it would cost over 700 billion? I don’t recall one instance of you showing any disgust into that. I guess its only pork when a democrat does it, right?

  16. Dragoon1376 says:

    No, both parties have their loyalists that initially line up after a new election expecting their own kickbacks and return favors.  And these loyalists are probably the same that are die-hard (fill in party affilliation here) and are unable to deal with/tolerate/converse civilly with the other side.  Of course I don’t mean to imply that everyone in the Democrat/Republican party act as such but there is definitely a small percentage that acts that way.

    Now, depending on which Republicans you talk to, you’ll find those that supported Bush’s policies and those that didn’t.  Much like the Democrats, the Republican party is a coalition of special interest groups.  The Compassionate Conservatives, as Bush coined the term, may have supported his crazy spending habits but not every Republican feels the same as them. 

    By the way, do the Blue Dogs, e.g. the fiscal conservative Democrats, have "ODS" because they were critical of the stimulus package and voted against it?

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  17. Dragoon1376 says:

    In no way can I speak for Austin_Lewis nor would I want to.  His opinions and beliefs are his own.

    But before I address the points you bring up, I want to give you a quick insight as to where I stand.  I am probably more along the lines of a financial conservative and a supporter of limited government.  I’m probably more of a libertarian at this point in my life than a republican but that’s really not the point.

    What I find ridiculous about the current era of politics, starting with the last Bush, is that there has been a more overt hatred of the President.  In many ways it’s laughable to me because it mistakenly places way too much perceived power into the hands of the President while, in the court of public opinion, keeping the Congress and Supreme Court removed from the process.  There have been critics of Bush that have gone about the right way in inciting a debate of the policies he undertook: they questioned/attacked his policies and the reasoning behind them.  That’s what we should be striving for since debates slow down the process and allow reflection or what have you on the course of action being taken.  Granted, it’s not always beneficial but during most government actions, it’s necessary in my opinion.

    Now back to the blind hatred of Bush (and do not count me as a fan boy of his because I have my own issues with his policies and spending habits): I still have yet to see anyone walking around with a tshirt that has Obama’s face on it with the message "Not my President."  Or a bumper sticker with some reference to the 2013 (or is it 2012?) inauguration date.  If someone did, they’d probably be slammed as racist which is a whole different can of worms.

    Dissent, as long as it doesn’t boil down to the "kill him/her because I hate his political beliefs" approach, is necessary and warranted.  Hell, I doubt we could have any sort of consensus on something as trivial (in the arena of public policy) as the best iteration of Zelda so why should we believe that we can all agree on political policies?

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  18. Austin_Lewis says:

    Ah yes, of course.  Actually, I never suggested all blame laid on Bush was blind hatred; I did, however, mention that Congress and the Senate, ESPECIALLY in the last 2 years, deserved quite a bit of the blame as well.  Lovely selective memory you have there. 
    Also, it was day 4 of Obama’s presidency when I knew we were in for bullshit; the ‘hope and change’ had been discarded, and suddenly, we had lobbyists and tax evaders being nominated for high office.  Surely, crooks are what America needs to set it right, and what they hoped for when they voted for ‘hope and change’.  Talk had begun about his then 890 BILLION dollar stimulus bill, as well as his new view on the 2nd amendment being made clear on the White House’s official website, whitehouse.gov.  Where was the ‘fiscal responsibility’?  Where was the spending to ‘revitalize the economy’?  Gone, replaced by BILLIONS in pork-barrel spending.


  19. Sukasa says:

    So its sheeple when a Dem is elected president, but its "free-thinking " americans when a Rep/conservative is elected?  Dems are at least honest in their desire for bigger govt, Reps talk about wanting smaller govt but then do the opposite when in power(ie notice how now that reps are out of power they talk about wanting to bring back smaller govt, but when they actually had power they did nothing to make it smaller and in fact made it larger?). 

    Personally both parties are fairly messed up (so dont consider me to be a dem)!  However it is interesting that when Bush was president, anyone who disagreed/disliked him was accused of "BDS".  It seems we can say the exact same of Reps/cons and say they are suffering from "ODS".

  20. Austin_Lewis says:

    I was able to give so much to worthwhile charities BECAUSE I could also write some of it off of my taxes.  I give either way, its just that one way I can give a few thousand, the other I can give tens of thousands.  However, under Obama’s new tax law, I can only afford to give a few thousand because I’m not able to get tax deductions and am now back to being taxed at the ridiculous 50% of my income level.

    I’ll still be donating either way, it just affects the amount I can donate.

  21. Baruch_S says:

    He didn’t say that. He said that making charitable giving non-deductible discourages people from doing it. Think about it; if you’re in an economic crisis and may or may not keep your job and investments, are you going to be handing out free money? If you get a tax break on it, there’s at least some incentive.

    I’d also prefer to see people giving to charities because they get tax breaks instead of not giving at all. The charity gets money no matter what the motivation and can use that money to do something good. If people give because they get tax breaks, at least the charity can use that money.

  22. Baruch_S says:

    Amen to that. However, dissenters don’t make good sheeple, and Obama needs as many sheeple as possible to support his counter-productive "stimulus" plan and ignore his highly questionable nominees for everything. When the people start thinking, the government gets worried.

  23. Mr.Pat says:

    While I think Zinn’s words are quite powerful, I think you need to take a look at the person I’m arguing with. This is someone who for declared any criticism, disagreement, or arguement against anything the last president said or did as nothing but "blind hatred" and anti-American, but upon day one of Obama’s term (and likely well before) decided that Obama was a failure and has wished for him to fail at not just policy, but everything he does, and expects people to think its justified. In other words I’m arguing with a hypocrite. We’re also talking about someone who is on the record here of telling everyone who voted for Obama to fuck off and blamed them for all of today’s problems, and in his very next post declared roughly 3/4s of our people are all suffering from "a blind hatred of Bush" and declared him irresponsible for anything wrong in his 8 years in office. Classy, right?

    I have absolutely no problem with people having dissenting opinions, I even agree with what Zinn said, but I find a difference in dissent and wishing for failure, because when you wish for failure, you wish for the worst outcome, and wishing for the worst is downright sickening. I may not have liked the last guy, but I never once rooted for him to fail like some people are with the new guy. But I guess to some (not you, Dragoon) its only patriotic to be dissentful when a democrat is in office.

  24. Sukasa says:

    So basically you(and people who give) only give to charity because you get a tax deduction?  That doesn’t seem very charitable.  Give to charity because its something you want to do or you like the charity’s mission.  It’s no longer charity when you are doing it just to save you a few dollars on your tax form.

  25. Dragoon1376 says:

    If you disagree with the President’s political agenda then why shouldn’t you want him to fail in implementing them?  Whether it’s Bush, Clinton, or Obama, disagreement is not something to be frowned upon, particularly since there is no concensus that Obama is doing something that EVERY single American wants or agrees with.  He may have won the election with 54% of the vote (give or take some percentage points) but that’s not every single American citizen and hardly means there’s a unanimous, unwavering, and unquestioning public that backs his every step.

    To quote Howard Zinn back in 2002: "While some people think that dissent is unpatriotic, I would argue that dissent is the highest form of patriotism." 

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  26. Austin_Lewis says:

    This is the largest group of tax cheat appointees that I’ve seen thus far in my life.  And you’re right to question the notion of change; there is no change here.  There was never going to be any.  We’ve already set records this year for spending, but we’re going to halve the deficit?  Bullshit.

  27. Dragoon1376 says:

    Well, of course.  We wouldn’t want you to donate money to any cause you believe to be pressing or that support your political/religious/ethnic beliefs.  It’s just wrong to discriminate against other charities that need that money just as much as the ones you support.  You have to support those things that you disagree with on whatever grounds.

    But isn’t that part of the grand idiocy of government? We’re empowering the entity that many have decried as being too powerful and omniscent with even more of the same.  Particularly when we acknowledge the ineffectiveness of government to get things done because of its own bloated political body slows its our actions. 

    And to try to divert my post back on topic: I don’t know if it’s my age or what but it seems like there has been a large number of tax cheats that are being selected in this administration that truly makes me question this whole notion of "change."  You’d think that Obama’s people would have vetted these people before they were nominated unless it’s all some sort of political kickback. 

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  28. Austin_Lewis says:

    I see about half of what I make after taxes.  I used to give to charities, anything from a few thousand or ten thousand dollars at least to a few cars. Charitable donations have always been deductable, until Obama.  It’s a great way to discourage people from giving to charity.

    As for these deductions for multiple houses, I must have missed that.  Of course, I only have 2, so it’s possible.

  29. E. Zachary Knight says:

    While I am no fan of increasing anyone’s taxes, it does seem that the richer you are the more deductions become available to you.

    What I would like to see for instance, rather than socialized healthcare, have all healthcare payments you make tax deductable. The same for retirement. Any payments to a certified IRA, 401k or other certified savings or investment account should be tax deductable as well.

    But tax deductions that make it more cost effective to own multiple homes rather than a single home is just stupid.

    I am poor by no means, but I don’t see nearly the same percentage of my income after taxes as you most likely do.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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  30. Austin_Lewis says:

    Obama seems to have a knack for picking corrupt politicians who think themselves above paying taxes like other people.  I know if I were to ‘forget’ to pay 10K in taxes, I’d be audited and have leans placed on my house and basically be fucked over.

  31. Austin_Lewis says:

    Haha, if you’re good little Simon. 
    Seriously though, no.  Have you seen Jurassic park?  All the sudden we have dinosaurs everywhere, ripping people apart, and a T-rex riding a boat to California so he can get his dinner.

    I’m working on buying a plane for my dad and I.  I always wanted my own prop plane.

  32. Austin_Lewis says:

    I don’t know who you hang out with who cheats on their taxes, but most people actually don’t.  You know, because the IRS will do lovely things like put leans on your house(s), harass you, demand interest, etc.

    Also, he didn’t get caught by a journalist; anyone nominated has to pass through a committee, and they look at things like this.

    And this isn’t something that falls into the ‘they have more money’ area.  Bullshit.  I make 2 million a year, and I don’t forget to pay my taxes, nor do I accidentally claim that 17 grand in basketball tickets is a business write-off.

  33. DoggySpew says:

    You do know that if these tax evaders are caught, they have to pay more then they owe. Which is a good thing.

  34. T5 says:

    The "war" on piracy will most likely be as effective as the war on drugs. Also why do these guys not just bow out graciously, it is just embarrassing at this point.

  35. chadachada321 says:

    Not for him, because he’s a politician. Isn’t there another one that forgot to pay some 40k in taxes?


    The way to fix our economy starts with getting corrupt people OUT of office (pretty much all Republicans and Democrats, as all of them waste tax dollars on wasteful pork barrel projects and commit to passing feel-good legislation to make it look like they are doing something)…Whoa, almost started a rant.

    Back on topic, we have to make sure that no politician is above the law. Period. When the mayor of Detroit, who got caught on 4 counts of perjury and for wasting 8 MILLION dollars of Detroit taxpayer money, among other charges of obstruction of justice, etc, got off with a month or 2 in jail and some fines. Each count of perjury can be up to 15 years in a federal prison, and instead he gets a simple jail cell for a few weeks. That’s such a disgusting waste, and were I the judge, I would’ve thrown the book at him.

    Same with famous people. When Paris Hilton gets caught drunk driving SEVERAL TIMES and doesn’t even get a real sentence, there are some real problems there.

    They punish poor people more than rich people, and it’s disgusting. Those that know of Kenny Glenn, the cat abuser, should know that he comes from a rich family, and he is just getting some community service and a slap on the wrist until he is 18. I think he should’ve gotten at least a year for EACH of the 3 counts of animal abuse. But no, the rich get off easily.

    If I didn’t have a life to live, I’d throw it away and help to fight this injustice…but as it stands I’m trying to get into college, so I’ll let it slide for now =)

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  36. Austin_Lewis says:

    Penalties for tax evasion or fraud are having to repay what you owe with interest, having leans placed on your house, and my personal favorite, years and years of tax auditing to make sure you don’t ‘forget’ that you owe 10,000 dollars again.

  37. Stealthguy says:

    Wow, are there penalties for that sort of thing? If so he should be happy to help the ailing economy don’t you think?

  38. Austin_Lewis says:

    Amen.  So far in his administration, we’ve had the largest spending bill ever and the largest budget ever.  I would love to see how he’s going to halve the deficit by 2010.  I know one thing for sure; making it so that I get taxed at 50% and can’t get deductions for charitable donations won’t help.

  39. jds says:

    Hmm… Fiscally responsible administration passes a googillion dollar spending bill and the people that may become part of the administration owe back taxes. Change you can believe in.

    I have a better slogan for Obama. "Screw up and move up."

    . . Wisdom begins in wonder. – Socrates . .

  40. Michael Chandra says:

    Cue the "You didn’t mention he’s a Democrat!" in 3… 2…

    (But seriously, it got posted in Democrats, and a democrat nominating a democrat ain’t that much a shocker.)

  41. DeepThorn says:

    Yeah, Nintendo really needs help…  You know, I am tempted to pirate a game from each company that bitches about game piracy, and for every article I see about it.  So for now on, that is what I am doing.  If anyone wants to join me for fun, great.  If not, that is cool too.  It will be interesting to keep all of the games in the same file and keep track of who bitches the most, it definitely wont be the companies that will actually get damaged by it, only EA and such.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  42. Arell says:

    To be fair, pretty much everyone cheats on thier taxes, not just politicians.  They just a), have a lot more money, and b), get caught by nosy journalists.  =3

  43. Austin_Lewis says:

    Oh man, another one that ‘forgot’ to pay his taxes.  What an ethical group we have.  I wonder if this is the change everyone hoped for.

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