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Democrats call on McDonnell to replace Malek as chairman of commission

Anita Kumar

House Democratic leaders called on Gov. Bob McDonnell to replace businssmen Fred Malek as chairman of his government reform commission because of questions that have been raised about his past.

In a letter, Dels. Ward Armstrong and Ken Plum asked McDonnell to replace Malek with either former U.S. Sen. John Warner, Christopher Newport University President Paul Trible or John "Dubby" Wynne, who already sits on the commission.

"It is clear that the important work of the commission would be distracted by questions about past behavior by its Chairman, and that would be a disservice to the Commonwealth,'' they wrote.

As an aide to President Nixon, Malek in 1971 compiled a list of Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an action that has been the subject of numerous articles and for which Malek has repeatedly apologized. Malek received a $100,000 civil fine in 2004 in a pension case as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to his firm's work with Connecticut's pension fund.

Republicans, including the party, accused Democrats of only criticizing Malek after he was appointed to the commission designed to shrink government. The party sent out a press release showing that the main Democrats who are opposed to Malek support big government. "Faced with a Governor who has said "no" to bigger government in no uncertain terms, they fall back on their only other trick -- impugning the motives of those who would let taxpayers keep more of their own money in their own pockets,'' according to a release from the state party.

"This is nothing but transparent partisan politics,'' McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson said. "The only people raising questions about Mr. Malek are partisan Democrats who don't want to reform government and cut spending. When they are ready to sit down and discuss specific ideas on cost savings, efficiencies and ways to serve our citizens better - the Governor and Mr. Malek are eager to oblige. In the meantime, we will move forward with the work of the commission and leave it to them to decide if they are more committed to governing than playing politics."

Read the full letter below:

May 27, 2010
The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell
Patrick Henry Building, Third Floor
1111 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Governor McDonnell:

We would first like to commend you on your creation of the Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. Streamlining government and finding cost-saving efficiencies is a laudable goal regardless of one's partisan leanings. In fact, our Caucus has put our words into action on this issue by supporting House Bill 1053 in the 2010 General Assembly session, which would have saved the Commonwealth millions of dollars.

However, we are increasingly concerned that the important issue of government reform is being overshadowed by questions about the past behavior of the Chairman of the Commission, Fred Malek. We are especially concerned with his actions regarding Connecticut state pension investments and the six-figure penalty paid by Mr. Malek and his company to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004. In its findings, the SEC expressed concern about the undisclosed agreements made by Malek's company with a political associate of the Connecticut State Treasurer. It is these kinds of incidents that create the need for reform and more transparency and sunlight in our government. True reform should not be led by someone with any questions regarding his background.

Therefore, it is our strong suggestion that you replace Mr. Malek with a chairman whose credentials on government reform are unimpeachable. Former U.S. Senator John Warner, Christopher Newport University President Paul Trible, or Commission member John "Dubby" Wynne are all well-qualified alternatives. It is clear that the important work of the commission would be distracted by questions about past behavior by its Chairman, and that would be a disservice to the Commonwealth.


Ward L. Armstrong Kenneth R. Plum
House Minority Leader House Democratic Caucus Chair

By Anita Kumar  |  May 27, 2010; 6:37 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , John W. Warner , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Fred Malek has apologized for his actions of almost 40 years ago while a young man working for President Nixon. He has been recently defended/supported by leaders of the Jewish community including the Senate Majority Leader and Democrat Richard Saslaw. Mr. Malek could not have been as successful in the business world had he not worked with a broad range of people of all nationalities, religions, ethnic backgrounds and races. The attacks on Malek are gratuitous political "gotcha" comments that are frankly unworthy of leaders in today's society. His expertise in business organization and finance will be a huge benefit to the Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.

Posted by: mikethompson1 | May 28, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

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