LaHood Confirmation Hearing Postponed
By Carol Leonnig
The confirmation hearing for Ray LaHood to be Barack Obama's secretary of transportation was postponed until at least next week, the committee announced just before the hearing was to begin this afternoon at 3 p.m.
The Senate Commerce Committee is trying to gather up some necessary background paperwork from the Obama transition team that the committee says is normally provided on nominees. The Obama transition has become increasingly anxious about the backgrounds of nominees now that two nominees have hit significant bumps in the rush of confirmation hearings. The Obama pick for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, withdrew from consideration after the FBI flagged an ongoing grand jury investigation that is looking at the governor's office role in the hiring of a bond adviser and Richardson donor. And Treasury Secretary-designate Tim Geithner has had his hearing rescheduled after questions came up about errors he made earlier this decade in reporting and paying his taxes.
The Post reported this morning that LaHood, a seven-term Republican Congressman from Illinois who retired last month, has close ties to a Republican power-broker indicted in the pay-to-play scandal that also led to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's recent arrest. The story also documented LaHood's sponsorship of $60 million in congressional earmarks last year, and how at least $9 million of them directly benefited his top campaign donors.
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