Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dear President Obama: Ex-Gov. Locke is not Mr. Clean

Sir, I've got to tell you that you've made some frightening personnel calls since you were elected. Your most recent debacle: Of the 18 people YOU picked to ride herd on the auto manufacturers, only 2 actually own American cars. Suddenly, the beer commercial comes to mind:


And now, you've picked former Washington Governor Gary Locke to come in and serve in large part to help clean up the ever-widening mess you're providing us.

As a Washingtonian, even I, initially, thought this was probably a good selection. Locke has an image of a squeaky-clean (vital in your efforts for now) policy wonk:

He's kept his private side so private that the Seattle Weekly once dubbed him, "The Man Who Mistook the Legislature for his Life." A few of the people Locke lists as his most influential advisers - the people he touches base with on big decisions - say they've never even had a social dinner with him.

And then there is that wooden, policy-wonk image. It still slips into play occasionally, like when he recently referred to the couple's first baby, due in March, as "the impending child."

and, I'm sure, that's how you'll sell this guy.

But there's trouble in River City. Will the press or the senators ask the questions?
Ex-Gov. Locke is not Mr. Clean

President Obama needs a Commerce Secretary nominee who is so clean that he will sail through the vetting process. So Gary Locke...

Gary Locke? I sometimes ride my bicycle past the Buddhist temple in Redmond where he raised illegal campaign contributions. Oh, is alleged to have. Michelle Malkin has a better memory than I because she was here on the Seattle Times' editorial board and dug in Locke's dirt and published columns on his shady practices.

Michelle Malkin :

Now, former Democrat Gov. Gary Locke -- a lawyer for international firm Davis, Wright, and Tremaine who specializes in China -- is rumored to be the next nominee for the post. The MSM is pulling for him. WaPo writes: "Locke is regarded as a safe choice by senior officials in the Obama administration given his long history in public life, his strait-laced reputation and his bipartisan governing credentials." Wishful thinking? Willful cluelessness? Probably a bit of both.

I covered Gary Locke when I worked at the Seattle Times. I dealt with his campaign and gubernatorial staffs. "Strait-laced" is not the adjective I'd use for my dealings with him and his people.

In response to my columns pressing Locke on his close ties to campaign finance crook John Huang, the governor's office first stonewalled. His standard Democrat smokescreen? Play the race card and play the victim.

She quotes her columns investigating his shady practices at length. For example in the Seattle Times in 1999:

When I asked what the governor had to say about Huang's guilty plea,Locke's spokesman, Keith Love, responded tersely: "He has no comment and nointerest."

This is a most peculiar stonewall of silence.

Though Huang and his wife gave token personal donations to Locke totaling a mere $1,000, Huang is no casual acquaintance of Locke or his out-of-state fund-raising staff. As reported here previously, Huang helped organize May 1996 galas involving Locke at the Mayflower Hotel and Sheraton Carlton in Washington, D.C.; three fund-raisers at restaurants in Los Angeles, and an extravaganza at the Universal City, Calif., Hilton in October 1996 that raised upwards of $30,000.

And the Seattle Times in 1998

Gov. Gary Locke's 1996 campaign treasure chest is like a box of
chocolates left out in the sun: You never know what kind of sticky mess you're gonna get.

News broke over the weekend that the Internal Revenue Service wants to examine Locke's donor list. That's in addition to a fresh congressional inquiry and three separate probes by the state Public Disclosure Commission (two prompted by this column).Locke's loyalists imply that scrutiny of his contributors is racist. The claim is as desperate as it is deceitful...

I sure wish she was still here. Her "replacement" never provided her
independent view and determination.

Cross-posted at Economic Freedom.

Is this the kind of thing you want to deal with? Is this the best you can do?

I get that you have started to lower the gigantic expectations you used to get elected. I know the fantasies you projected to talk the ignorant into voting for you have lost their sheen.

But Mr. President, you have got to get someone into your office to keep you from making these screw ups. Maybe David Gergan is still available?

Just a thought... but this is MY country you're screwing around with. And I'm hoping you won't forget it.

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