OK, Bob, Time To Do Some House Cleaning!

By Loudoun Insider

I asked last week if Bob McDonnell (and Bill Bolling) were completely clueless or poorly served by staff in regard to various happenings in the administration.  Now with the Fred Malek situation getting worse, it is ever more clear that McD needs to make some serious staff changes pronto.  McDonnell says that he was unaware of Malek’s past controversy as an ethnic cleanser for Nixon, and, even worse in my opinion, ethical violations from the SEC (read the details on that one and see if that’s the guy to champion governmental reform!).  If his staff couldn’t vet Malek well enough to find these easily known facts, then they need to hit the road before they damage McDonnell even more.  This is elementary vetting, people!  Now, just as with the Bob Sledd fiasco, McDonnell is stuck defending the indefensible and being damaged politically for an easily avoidable mistake.  Seriously, Bob, it’s well past time for some serious cleansing of your own!


  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    “Whatever he did, obviously there appeared to be some violation of the law that he agreed to settle,” McDonnell said. “I don’t know all the details…”
    And therein lies the issue…

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    It really is that line “I don’t know all the details”. Even if you don’t, don’t say it. I don’t think this rises to the level of any of the hype, as even the WashPost article shows that Malek has ardent defenders on both sides of the aisle.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Yeah, they put a state senator in a no show job at the behest of the state treasurer in Connecticut. Great experience for cleaning up Virginia government, right? If a moralist like Bob McDonnell isn’t going to clean up Richmond, who will???

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    LL, this definitely isn’t the worst event in history, but it was just so easily avoidable, and lines like the one you mention just make it even worse! it just seems like it’s amateur hour over at the Gov’s office these days. He really needs to shake things up and get some real pros in there. His current crew is not serving him well at all.

  • Gretchen Laskas says:

    Honestly, the casualness with the vetting of people on both sides continues to astonish me. This isn’t 1975 where to get information I have to be a journalist fighting with bureaucrats armed with the Freedom of Information Act. Anyone under 45 ought to know that if it can be found out, it will be found out, so how old are the people doing the vetting anyway? Sometimes you just want to say, “Go to google….”

  • Chris says:

    LI, I’m starting to agree with you on this. McDonnell has the right ideas but can’t seem to get out of his own way when it comes to appointments. Malek has always been a money man here and I can’t understand why he couldn’t find someone better?

  • Ron Gilcourse says:

    Perhaps due to budget cuts there were no smart legal minds hired in the “Councilor to the Governor” posts. Governors Warner and Webb had three of these guys on staff and they likely filtered out any potential mistakes before they were done.

    While the Governor has had a great first 100 days, I wonder whether it was wise not to fill these “Councilor to the Governor” posts.

  • Jay Hughes says:

    well….when President Obama fires Geithner or Geithner steps aside then Gov. McDonnell should fire Malek or in scenario 2, Malek should resign…until then what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Great way to differentiate oursevles from the Dems! So much for the party of law and order and morals! This is exactly why people are developing bad feelings to both sides of the political spectrum.

  • Jay, we need to be doing it cleaner and more transparent. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • Elder Berry says:

    If the Republican Party has forgotten about Watergate and Nixon, then it really is in trouble.

  • Wolverine says:

    People of consequence from Abe Foxman of the ADL to Dick Saslaw say these are ridiculous personal attacks on Fred Malek. He long ago atoned for the “Jew Counter” thing, and none of the Jewish leaders who know him extremely well consider him to be anything other than a good friend who is not at all anti-Semitic. But that doesn’t bother LI in the least. Oh, and by the way, the “consultant” in that Connecticut Pension and Trust Fund case, the guy who, along with former Republican State Treasurer Sylvester, was accused of fraud, was none other that William DiBella, former Democratic State Senate Majority Leader in Connecticut. Malek was just not paying enough attention at that time and admitted it. He and his company, Thayer Capital, were charged by the SEC with “negligence” under the Investment Advisors Act of
    1940, hence the fines, $100,000 of which was a personal fine on Malek. Get over it, LI. Everyone else has, except you and some of the attack dogs on the Left.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Thank you for putting this is perspective Wolverine.

  • Jay Hughes says:

    LI & BPM:

    All facitiousness aside, you guys need to be careful about your calls for snow-white pasts on the part of folks involved in government. There are very few people (on both sides of the aisle) who haven’t at some point in their lives exercised poor judgment and had a minor run-in with the authorities. Fred Malek brings a lifetime of business achievement to this job, and, the Commonwealth will benefit from it. Did he exercise poor judgment by performing the distasteful, yet legal, bidding of President Nixon regarding the Jewish issue? Yes he did. But it’s clear that many people knew about this over the years, he apologized for it repeatedly, it happened a long time ago and I believe he should be forgiven for it. My understanding of the SEC fine is that it’s a civil penalty and carries with it no criminal record. Lawyer-types please school me good and hard if I’m wrong on that.

    But to close out my 2 drachmas, you guys need to be careful about your calls for snow-white pasts because good folks on both sides of the aisle sometimes slip into bits of poor judgment and I don’t think their expertise, knowledge, etc should be banished because of it.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    This discussion doesn’t tell me as much about Mr. Malek (more about him in a minute) as it does about how absolutely nuts Richard Nixon was. My first government service was in the Nixon administration, working for a presidential appointee, and I vaguely recall that my boss would occasionally get sent on some absolutely wild, paranoia-driven goose chase by some weird-o purporting to act for the President. When one reads or listens to the tapes of Nixon with his closest advisors, you find a man of very complex hurts and slights, very afraid of things that did not really threaten him, and oblivious to his own potential for connecting positively with the electorate.

    I didn’t know Mr. Malek at the time, but have since met him casually in some social settings and in some political contexts in Northern Virginia. I don’t have much doubt that he thought the “Jew Hunt” caper was some nutball thing coming from Haldeman, Colson or whomever in the White House and sort of slow-walked the process just to placate whomever was asking. A person of sharper moral sensitivity (or historic knowledge) should have said, “Bullshit. I’ll have no part of this stupid nonsense and you all ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves for even asking.” I don’t know how jaded at that point Malek had become given all the other crap that was going on. It may have become a part of the background noise of looney scavenger hunts that he was being sent on. It’s really impossible to justify retrospectively. But I will say that it does not seem to me to be a fair gauge of Malek as a man to suggest that his internal content is accurately defined by this incident.

    This leads us back to LI’s initial point. Should McDonnell’s people have had some awareness of this? Sure. It’s not a hard thing to know about, directly if you’re my age (which none of them are, or indirectly through research.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Scout, as I said that doesn’t bother me as much as the SEC violation, but it is going to be a flash point regardless. JH, I understand no one is perfect, but most people will see some definite disconnect between Malek’s particular offenses and him heading up a governmental reform committee. We all know the WaPo and other more liberal media outlets will jump on anything like this with McDonnell, so it just amazes me that they would let this blow up in the first place. It was easily avoidable – Malek seems like a good guy these days, but surely there is someone else capable of doing this job.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Where are the thinkers coming from for the center-right? This is what alarms me the most: the talent pool seems very shallow.

  • I agree with the main point of the post and would point out that it’s far from the only sign that the McDonnell staff needs a shake up. They can’t handle fairly routine tasks, such as fielding day to day press inquiries. The governor has shown up at events off schedule and off message. That shouldn’t happen with a competent staff. Bill Leighty would have bitten somebody’s head off if these things had happened in the Kaine administration. Warner would have performed the executions personally.

  • Elder Berry says:

    If you placate nut jobs who are in places of power, then you are complicit in their actions. Nixon’s actions weren’t just nutty, they were seriously against the US Constitution. I’m willing to overlook a lot, but being part of Nixon’s hatchet squad isn’t on my list of “minor” issues. Same for Colson. Anyone in that bunch had serious ethical and moral problems and a mea culpa doesn’t cut it. They can do good works all they want to but keep them away from government. I don’t like what it says about McDonnell.

  • Brian S says:

    Looks like Obama could use some new staff too. Today’s press conference was painful.

  • Wolverine says:

    Interesting that many of those prominent people who came to Malek’s defense over the “Jew Counter” issue also opined that McDonnell had made a very good appointment in this case. NoVA Scout has a good point in his last para. Background on Malek is easily available to anyone with access to Google or other search engines. The staff should have done a much beter job of preparing the governor for any possible questions or criticisms concerning Malek’s nomination to the reform commission. However, perhaps that staff is still in the middle of the “shakedown cruise” and will soon sharpen up. I seem to recall a whole series of gaffes and blunders in the White House at the beginning of Obama’s term, starting with that DVD gift to ex-PM Brown of the UK, failure to check the tax status of certain nominees, etc. That was Rahm Emmanuel’s responsibility to sort those things out during their own “shakedown cruise.” Happens all the time on both sides.

  • Jay Hughes says:


  • Leej says:

    ok today is love your friends day and give them a call 😉

    except you can’t call your ex girlfriend or boyfriend 😉

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    NLS provides more evidence for my thoughts about house cleaning:

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