When former President Richard Nixon became paranoid that the Bureau of Labor Statistics had come under the control of Democrats and a “Jewish cabal,” he ordered adviser Fred Malek to create a list of “important Jewish officials” within the bureau, several of whom were later demoted or transferred. “It was the last recorded act of official anti-Semitism by the United States government,” Slate’s Timothy Noah noted. Malek has since apologized for serving as Nixon’s “Jew counter,” and has gone on to be a perennial Republican operative, serving as national finance co-chair for Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign, and as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee under President George H. W. Bush. Now, right-wing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has hired Malek to chair a 31-member commission charged with making recommendations on how to reform government:
The commission will be chaired by Fred Malek, founder of Thayer Capital Partners. Malek, a major Republican donor, served as a finance chairman to Sen. John McCain in 2008 and has also been an adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
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.
“[I]t is deeply disturbing that Governor McDonnell would appoint as its chair Fred Malek, whose history in ‘reforming’ government includes creating lists of Jews serving in government to track and remove from government service,” Virginia Del. David Englin (D) said in a statement. Reflecting on Malek, Matt Yglesias previously observed, “One of the enduring mysteries of American life is how it is, exactly, that so many people guilty of serious breaches of the public trust manage to maintain respectability in virtue of having committed this breaches while working for Republican presidents.”