McDonnell appointee under fire by Democrats - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

McDonnell appointee under fire by Democrats

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The man Governor Bob McDonnell has appointed to lead an important commission that with will oversee his government reform effort is coming under fire by Democrats.

Fred Malek apologized many years ago for his role in an effort by President Richard Nixon to monitor the number of Jewish people in his administration.

However Democrats have unearthed old documents and audio recordings that they say should keep him from chairing this important commission.

Malek, a well known Republican is a friend of Sarah Palin and worked for Ronald Reagan. But it is his work for perhaps the most infamous member of the GOP that is coming back to haunt him decades later. His work for Nixon came to life in an audio recording released by the University of Virginia.

On the recording, Nixon can be heard saying, "I really feel like I want the Jews checked. {Fred} Malek is to particularly check the Jews throughout the administration."

Malek has admitted to his role and apologized for it several times. In fact his apology has been accepted by many prominent Democrats and Jewish leaders- such as California Senator Diane Fenstein who has said Malek has "no bias whatsoever".

Democrats have a vested interest in dredging up Malek's past. The wealthy former business leader is part of a group planning to donate as much as $25 million to Republican candidates across the country. Republicans believe this has more to do with national politics than state government.

In statement, McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said:

"Citizens want less rhetoric, and more results and opportunity... Fred Malek is ideally suited to help lead this effort to restructure government."

However Democrats say his ties to the past are enough to keep him from being a viable candidate to chair this important commission.

The government reform commission meets for the first time Friday at the State Capitol.

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