Friday, December 10, 2004

He Wanted to Spend More Time With His Broker 

Via Zemblan patriot J.M.: Bernard Kerik has withdrawn his name from consideration as the next czar of Homeland Security:
Presidential press secretary Scott McClellan, in a conference call to news organizations, revealed that Kerik had withdrawn "for personal reasons" . . . .

Bush's nomination of Kerik quickly proved controversial. News reports in recent days focused on revelations that Kerik had made millions of dollars from a stun gun company that sold weapons to the Homeland Security Department and which wants more business. The White House had said that Kerik would avoid any conflicts of interest.

Records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Kerik made $6.2 million by exercising stock options he received from Taser International. He has been a consultant for the company and still serves on its board of directors, although the company and the White House said he planned to sever the relationship . . . .

Just hours before Kerik withdrew his name, the White House defended him on questions about potential ethical conflicts of interest.

"We have full confidence in his integrity and we are confident that he will take the appropriate steps necessary to make sure that there are no conflicts there," McClellan had said at his midday briefing.

"We've looked into all these issues, and obviously, he'll be talking about some of these matters during his confirmation hearing," McClellan had said earlier. "But the president appointed Commissioner Kerik because he knows he is someone who is firmly committed to helping us win the war on terrorism and make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect the homeland."
So what do you suppose the background check turned up?

UPDATE: The official story? Nanny trouble:
On Friday evening, Mr. Kerik informed the administration that there were tax and immigration problems related to a former nanny and housekeeper he had employed. In a statement issued late Friday, Mr. Kerik said he had determined that the housekeeper was not clearly a legal immigrant and that he had not properly paid taxes on her behalf.
We might buy that one if it turned out the immigrant nanny's previous employer had been Osama bin Laden. Josh Marshall agrees that there's more to the story -- including an arrest warrant in 1998.

UPDATE: Quick, someone divert a river -- it smells like the Augean stables in here. Just go to the top of TPM and start scrolling down. (And be sure to stick around long enough for the mob connection!)

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