The U.S. Senate has confirmed Tom Dorr as USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development, by a vote of 62 to 38.
In April, Dorr went through Senate Agriculture Committee hearings to be nominated for the top Rural Development post.
Dorr, of northwest Iowa, was unable to garner the needed 60 votes in the Senate in 2002, because of criticism led by Ranking Member Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, about comments he had made about racial ethnicity and issues cited about structuring his farming operations to avoid payment limitations.
He was made a recess appointee from August 2002 until December 2003. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman retained him as a senior adviser when his recess term expired and assigned him additional duties in other areas of the Department of Agriculture.
On Thursday, Dorr did write a public apology for racial statements, made in 1999. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss entered the statement into the public record.
Harkin, who voted against the appointment, says, "After four years of questioning and examination of this nomination, he finally acknowledged and apologized for these actions. This eleventh hour apology and public admission of wrong doing may be significant, but that is not enough to reward him with a top job at USDA."
Harkin says it appears that Dorr may still owe more than $70,000 to USDA. He says Dorr and the Administration consistently and steadfastly refuse to provide Congress with any documentation to clear the matter up.