There's a hex on Obama's Commerce secretaries

It's supposed to be a forgettable cabinet position, but the people nominated to lead President Obama's Department of Commerce seem predestined to resist the low profile.
 
Last night, Commerce Secretary John Bryson became the latest example of bad luck befalling the Obama administration's Department of Commerce after being cited for a felony hit-and-run following two car crashes in Los Angeles. (The Commerce Department is saying he suffered a seizure, investigators aren't ruling out substance abuse.) While it's too early to assign blame, the car crash is the latest incident in which the low profile and largely symbolic position has generated unwelcome front page news. "Until this morning, I could not have named the U.S. commerce secretary," tweeted The Atlantic's Jeff Goldberg. "I thought it was a guy named Gutierrez."
 
Here's the bad news club Bryson just joined:

Penny Pritzker. In 2008, President Obama's longtime billionaire friend and campaign finance chairman Penny Pritzker torpedoed reports that she was seeking the cabinet position after running into "business obstacles that prevented her from becoming commerce secretary," The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and Matthew Mosk reported. The paper says the job was hers for the taking but things apparently went sour after she launched a "review of her vast financial holdings, weighing whether she could disentangle herself to the extent necessary to meet Obama's strict standards for service in his administration" (read: lobbyist, donor ties).

Bill Richardson. Causing an unwelcome headache for the Obama administration, in January 2009, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson abandoned his nomination for commerce secretary as he came under pressure for a "pay-to-play" grand jury investigation into a state contract given to one of his political donors (aggravating timing, no doubt, as the pay-to-play scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was fresh in the public's mind). In 2009, Richardson was cleared in the federal probe. 

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by eSignLive by VASCO

    Mobile E-Signatures for Government

    Learn 5 key trends that accelerate government demand for mobile signing.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Management Concepts

    SPONSORED: Successful Change Management Practices in the Public Sector

    How governmental agencies implement organizational change management.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Kronos

    Solving the Workforce Compliance Challenge

    Download this eBook to learn how data and automation can help state and local agencies.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.