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McDonnell drops Sledd nomination to Cabinet in response to Democratic opposition

Rosalind Helderman

Just hours after being sworn as governor, Bob McDonnell has suffered his first defeat at the hands of the Democratically-controlled state senate, as he quietly drops his nomination of a cabinet secretary whose confirmation they had threatened to block.

Instead of swearing in Richmond businessman Bob Sledd as secretary of commerce and trade at a Capitol ceremony Sunday, he administered the oath to fellow businessman Jim Cheng instead and named Sledd to serve as an unpaid Senior Economic Advisor.

The position does not require the confirmation of the senate, where Democrats had said they would not vote for Sledd's appointment because they believed his service on the boards of three corporations posed a conflict of interest.

McDonnell appears to have sidestepped their concerns over Sledd's potential conflict by giving him a titled advisor position charged with similar responsibilities as he would have held as a commerce secretary. Sledd will remain on the three boards and it is unclear if concerns over potential conflicts will be resolved by the move.

But McDonnell's concession demonstrates the power the shrunken Democratic party still holds in Richmond because of its majority in a single chamber of the state legislature. Despite a Republican sweep in November and expansion of the GOP's majority in the House, control of the senate gives the opposition party a veto over McDonnell's agenda.

More to come as the story develops.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 17, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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You leftist water carrying hacks at the Compost are good for a laugh, if nothing else..

Posted by: wewintheylose | January 17, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

More Czars. Unelected, political appointees with the same power as cabinet secretaries. The Facist party begins their dictatorship. McDonnels first act (executive order) as governor was to create a new top bureaucrat czar to shovel out hard-working middle class Virginian's tax dollars to corporations and CEOs. Virginians will soon be sorry they voted this extremist Pat Robertson disciple into office. I just HOPE HE FAILS.

Posted by: JayJackson2 | January 17, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The only effect that Democrats had was to create the impression of partisanship. Sledd was already willing to work without a paycheck, so they did not deny him that. McDonnell and Sledd agreed to work together, and they continue to do that, without the participation of the legislature.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 17, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

A wise move on the part of Gov McDonnell. Although by all accounts Bob Sledd is an capable, trustworthy guy, his presence on corporate boards threatened to create the appearance of impropriety. The McDonnell administration is better off without Sledd in the cabinet right now.

Posted by: junomoneta88 | January 17, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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