Commerce Secretary Resigns After Hit-and-Run Accidents

by InvestorPlace Staff | June 21, 2012 5:34 pm

[1]Twelve days after being involved in a series of hit-and-run accidents[2] and found in his car unconscious, Commerce Secretary John Bryson has resigned[3].

The announcement was made today by Bryson in a message sent to department employees. It read, in part:

“The work that you do to help America’s entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs is more important now than ever, and I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission.”

Rebecca M. Blank[4], the Deputy Secretary of Commerce and acting secretary during Bryson’s prior leave of absence, will continue as acting secretary. The Commerce Department, whose stated goal is to promote “job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans”, has been a relatively low-key department in President Barack Obama’s administration, and both Obama and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry targeted it for elimination. Bryson had only served as secretary for eight months and had stayed out of the spotlight until his hit-and-run accidents.

Obama hasn’t had much luck in finding people to take the position. His first choice, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, withdrew his name from consideration after he came under investigation for improper state contracting. His second choice, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., decided not to join a Democratic president’s cabinet. Eventually, Obama convinced former Washington Gov. Gary F. Locke to take the post, which he held for two years until becoming China’s ambassador. Bryson then stepped into the role.

There is no word yet on who might be under consideration for the secretaryship permanently, though if Obama loses the election in the fall, it may wind up a moot point.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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