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UPDATED: Democrats attack McDonnell's selection of Malek as government reform chairman

Anita Kumar

Del. David Englin, a Democrat from Alexandria, blasted Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for choosing longtime Republican donor and activist Fred Malek as chairman of his government reform commission, accusing him of once creating lists of Jews to track and remove from government service.

"Was there really no more qualified individual in Virginia to lead this panel?,'' asked Englin, who is Jewish. "Has he done anything to disavow and make amends for his previous anti-Semitism?"

In September 1988, the Washington Post reported that Malek "compiled figures in 1971 on the number of Jews among top officials of the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the direction of President Nixon, who had ordered Malek to investigate what notes taken by White House aides described as a 'Jewish cabal' at the agency." Less than two months later, two senior bureau officials who were Jewish were removed from their posts and moved to less visible positions in the agency.

Malek was quoted in the story as saying he recalled the incident, and had gathered the statistics, "but in no way did I take part in moving anyone out of the (bureau)." But in memos released in recent years, Malek was shown to have a greater role in moving Jewish officials in the bureau, according to an article in Slate.

Messages to the governor's press office went unanswered today.

Update, 1:30 p.m.:
McDonnell spokeman Tucker Martin released this statement:

"The Governor is engaged in the hard and serious work of making government work better for the citizens of Virginia. Like the President, the Governor also stresses the need for more civility in politics. Citizens want less rhetoric, and more results and opportunity.

: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."

"We've also received other statements in support of Malek through Martin, which we later verified.

"I have known Fred Malek for more than 20 years and he is a friend for whom I have great respect, trust and admiration,'' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who is Jewish, in a statement. "He is a man of high principle and he has no bias of any kind whatsoever. In addition, Fred is a renowned expert on organization and efficiency, and he brings with him a unique set of skills and experiences that will serve the people of Virginia well. "

"The attacks on Fred Malek for being an anti-Semite are unwarranted,'' said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "Except for one instance, for which he has apologized and atoned for-- acceding to President Nixon's order to compile a list of Jews in government - he has no record of being anti-Jewish. The Anti-Defamation League strongly believes that one mistake does not an anti-Semite make. Mr. Malek has reached out to and maintained good relations with the Jewish community. His appointment by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to the Government Reform Commission is based on Malek's credentials as a political, philanthropic and business leader and should not be controversial. I am pleased to call Fred Malek my friend."

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"Fred Malek is a loyal and patriotic American and a staunch supporter of America's ally, Israel,'' said Kenneth Bialkin, chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League. Malek is on the League's board. "I know him personally to be wholly free of bias and he has proved many times over the years his loyalty to the highest principles of freedom, human rights and international tolerance."

According to the Slate article, Malek has engaged in Jewish and pro-Israel philanthropy. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, both granted indulgences for Malek's 'mistake,' and two of the three employees who were transferred told blogger Steven I. Weiss two years ago that they held no grudge.

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House and the chamber's only Jewish Republican, declined to comment Monday.

Back to original post:
Malek, founder of Thayer Capital Partners, is more recently known as finance chairman to Sen. John McCain in 2008 and adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

On Friday, McDonnell released the names of the 31 members of the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, which will search for ways to shave hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget and make government more user-friendly.

The group will consider closing some of the state's 130 agencies, consolidating accounting and payroll systems, putting more forms online, privatizing state functions and eliminating annual reports. Its most controversial task will be to consider selling the state's 350 liquor stores, which McDonnell pledged to do on the campaign trail last year.

Meanwhile, Paul Goldman, a Richmond lawyer and former head of the state Democratic party, said he was disappointed with McDonnell's choice of Malek because of his lack of experience reforming government. Goldman said he was particularly concerned that Malek served on the board of Fannie Mae from 2002 to 2005 but was not able to see the organization's problems before the subprime mortgage crisis began.

"I think this [commission] is important. It's not supposed to be for show,'' he said. "But I don't know what he's done to get the job."

By Anita Kumar  |  May 10, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Antisemitism, Bob McDonnell, Fred Malek, Republican  
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At least Malek loves dogs...grilled with plenty of barbecue sauce.

Posted by: annie7 | May 10, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I may be biased, having worked for Fred at both extremely large companies (Marriott lodging and Northwest Airlines) where he was president and in start-ups sponsored by Thayer Capital. Fred is a hands-on, results-oriented leader with a focus on performance and cost control. He is approachable, listens, is open-minded and decisive. I think the Commonwealth could not do better than having Fred lead this commission.

Posted by: larrykahn | May 10, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If McDonnell thinks he can save money by finding and firing all the Jews in government, then Malek is his man.
At least he waited til after Confederate History month to announce this.

The republican leadership of Virginia just looks more backwards and racist every day.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 10, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

To Larrykahn: Open minded? Really? Compiling a list of Jews to be removed is open minded?

If he didn't have the guts to do the right thing then, why would anyone believe he would do right by the Commonwealth now?

Posted by: linroy62 | May 10, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

good point linroy62.
also keep in mind he did this in 1971, not in the 1950's when McCarthyism and the red scare was going on.
By 1971, we had passed major civil rights laws and our country had really turned the corner. We had affirmative action and created HUD and as a country were making America the land of opportunity for all.
And yet, there is Richard Nixon with all his "expletive deleted"s, plotting against the Jews like Hamen from the story of Purim.
and there was Malek, doing whatever Nixon asked of him. No matter how devious or shameful or ignorant.
And Malek served his master well.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 10, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm a life-long republican and generally take the political coverage in the Post with a grain of salt. However, in this case I think the Post story under-states the nastiness in which Mr. Malek engaged. I followed the link to the Slate article and my skin crawled when I read the transcripts of President Nixon and his staff discussing their Jew hunt and Malek's memo to the President. Anyone who could participate in this and not offer a full and deep public mea culpa has a fundamental flaw in their character. This whole episode is shameful and disgusting.

Posted by: lanierheights | May 10, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey, this is a Christian country !!!!! McDonnell can not not put his foot in his mouth.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 10, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Malek has absolutely no business serving in an official capacity anywhere. The man is odious. Says an awful lot about McDowell that he chose him.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Confederate History Month, subpoenas against academics, removing Jews from government. Hey Virginia! What did you expect? McDonnell IS A REPUBLICAN!

Posted by: TripLBee | May 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot to all who voted for McDonnell. Big FAIL.

Posted by: Commentor5000 | May 10, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot to all who voted for McDonnell. Big FAIL.

Posted by: Commentor5000 | May 10, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

So was Malek in charge at Marriott when they canceled reservations for a Jewish group that wanted to visit Egypt and stay at a Marriott hotel?

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 10, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey big thanks to everyone who voted for McDonnell.

Posted by: Commentor5000 | May 10, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

No worse than that Jones guy picked by Obama, actually a great choice.

Posted by: zcxnissan | May 10, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Confederate History month with no mention of slavery, an attorney general preoccupied with "fixing" the state seal, and now Nixon's Jew counter to help reform government. When can we vote these clowns out?

Posted by: lightenup2 | May 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Two open-ended Mideast wars, Twin Towers still a hole in the ground and smudge marks still visible on the Pentagon as Zionist Neo-cons still have a death grip on foreign policy in DC. There is a school of thought that perhaps Nixon at least understood the larger picture.

Posted by: slim2 | May 10, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Slim2: Nixon's position in the case at hand has nothing to do with Zionism or foreign policy. In the relevant tapes he argues that Jews are disloyal to his government, largely registered democrats, and engaged in a cabal to hurt him personally. The purge occurred at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not the State Department or the NSC.

I'm sympathetic to a more balanced Mideast policy for the US, but this incident is about antisemitism, not foreign policy.

Posted by: lanierheights | May 10, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

What is this story about? With the testimonials received for this guy Malek, you should be checking out Englin!

Posted by: 15of18 | May 10, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another McDonnell bashing by Kumar.


Posted by: postfan1 | May 10, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What the hell is wrong with McDonnell? He seems like a complete moron when it comes to day to day functions of being a governor. First his confederate history month joke and then now he picks an anti-Semite to chair a government reform commission? Virginia Republicans will probably be thrilled to hear that McDonnell picked an anti-Semite, so maybe it was a strategic move on his part?

Posted by: miknugget | May 10, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Fred Malek, in my opinion, is an elderly person with considerable number of issues in his background for the work he did in the Nixon Administration. Also, there is no evidence in his bckground that he knows anything about state govt and would likely bring his biased views to govt reform. Just because he ran Marriott and Northwest provides no evidence of knowledge of state govt operations. We do need someone who is universally respected for knowledge of state and local govt so that person can hit the ground running... Englin is correct: McDonnell has a wealth of experienced and knowledgeable people to lead this effort - and Malek isnt one of them!!

Posted by: Keret1 | May 10, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Virginia politics since the last election reads like one of Robert Heinlein's "Future History" stories written forty or fifty years ago. He foresaw the rollback of civil rights, the imposition of theocracy and eventual religious dictatorship, the splintering of the United States and the complete dysfunction of our national government.

We are becoming the laughingstock of the world as we reveal ourselves to be bigoted, small-minded, small-hearted, jingoistic and selfish. We revel in ignorance and betray the values that made America the best country in the world.
If we are going to throw immigrants out of the country, the first one to go should be Rupert Murdoch, and he should be banned from owning any interest in American media ever again. He is a purveyor of poison and lies.

I want MY country back.

Posted by: btmom | May 10, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Another thoughtful and learned decision from the right-wing-nut Gov...NOT!!!Can't wait to see what hate group gets it's next shot at govt service while Va goes down the tubes!!Can't wait to vote this m0r0n out of office!

Posted by: lsf07 | May 10, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Virginia with this guy Bobby at the helm will shortly be changing its state motto from Virginia is for lovers to Virginia is for bigots. It should play well with his base. When will you people there learn. Don't hear much from Cantor do you? He would support this guy through anything as long as it has an "R" next to a name. Speak up Eric or should I say Mr. Morality!

Posted by: shschwarz | May 10, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Simply unbelievable. McDonnell (sick bastard) is an anti-Semite too. Can we nuke Virginia before Ronald McDonnell thinks again?

Posted by: SoupLine | May 10, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Simply unbelievable. McDonnell (sick bastard) is an anti-Semite too. Can we nuke Virginia before Ronald McDonnell thinks again?

Posted by: SoupLine | May 10, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Simply unbelievable. McDonnell is an anti-Semite too. Can we nuke Virginia before Ronald McDonnell thinks again?

Posted by: SoupLine | May 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Jim Moran is the real anti-Semite in Virginia, not Fred Malek. But Moran is a Democrat, so the self-righteous liberals at the Post don't care.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 10, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell and Kookanelli are Creepy.

Posted by: liveride | May 10, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I can imagine the scene when McDonnell selected Malek, like something out of "inglorious basterds". They are both sitting at a wooden table in a small house in the Virginian Country Side. McDonnell has his daughter pour Malek a glass of fresh milk.
Malek taps his fingers together and tells McDonnell, "you know they used to have a nick name for me" he says with a smurk " they called me the Jew Hunter".

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Here's another reason why Malek is such an appropriate ;-) choice to reform the Virginia government.

On August 12, 2003, the SEC filed a civil fraud lawsuit against former Connecticut state Senate Majority Leader William DiBella for participating in a fraudulent scheme to invest $75 million of the state pension funds with Malek's firm, Thayer Capital Partners. On May 18, 2007, DiBella and North Cove were found liable for aiding and abetting Silvester's intentional violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Thayer was found in negligence of Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Thayer paid a civil penalty of $150,000, and Malek personally paid a fine of $100,000.

Posted by: sensible | May 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Of course, like all good "Christians" who get caught doing terrible things to Jews, Fred Malek was (according to Gov. McDonnell) "only following orders."

That puts Mr. Malek precisely in the company he deserves.

Welcome to Richmond -- welcome to Berlin.

Posted by: monklewis | May 14, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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