N.Va. lawmakers continue attacks on McDonnell pick because of 40-year-old incident
Del. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) said he and Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria), both of whom are Jewish, are scheduled to appear Friday morning on WTOP's Politics Program with Mark Plotkin to denounce anew Fred Malek's appointment to the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring because of Malek's role in President Richard M. Nixon's infamous Jew-hunting mission almost 40 years ago.
In 1971, Nixon ordered Malek, who was director of personnel, to find out how many Jews worked in the Bureau of Labor Statistics because he believed a "Jewish cabal" there was trying to discredit the president's rosier economic outlook. Malek complied.
Referring to Malek as "Nixon's Jew counter," Surovell said Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who created the commission and made Malek its chair, should know that some people are still offended by Malek's acquiescence to a disgraceful assignment. Surovell also said Malek's appointment demonstrates a pattern of cluelessness on McDonnell's part toward hot-button issues involving minorities.
"It shows an insensitivity toward the groups of people who didn't support him," Surovell said Thursday. He also ripped McDonnell's choice of Malek because of Malek's role in a business deal involving Connecticut's pension funds, for which the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2003 filed a civil enforcement action. The SEC ultimately reached an agreement with Malek that forced him to pay $100,000 and his company $150,000 in fines.
Malek's defenders have said that he long ago apologized and atoned for his role in the Nixon-led inquisition, and accuse Democrats of dredging up ancient history to sully McDonnell.
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor, repeated his view that the Democrats' criticism is a distraction from substantive issues and feeds the perception of politics as a cynical enterprise.
"The Governor, Fred Malek and the bipartisan membership of the Government Reform Commission are focused on making government simpler, easier to use, and reducing spending. Fred Malek has long been a national business, political and philanthropic leader and, as the former president of Marriott Hotels and Northwest Airlines, is ideally suited to help lead this effort to restructure government," Martin said.
Martin also reiterated the warm defense that Malek received from Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who described Malek as "a friend" and "a man of high principle" who "has no bias of any kind whatsoever," and from Abraham Foxman. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Malek "a friend" and said the ADL "strongly believes that one mistake does not an anti-Semite make."
Listen to the delegates' Plotkin appearance here.
-- Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post Editors
May 21, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
Categories: Fredrick Kunkle , Robert F. McDonnell
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