Kerik Withdraws as Homeland Security Nominee
Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, abruptly withdrew his name from consideration to be President Bush’s secretary of homeland security late Friday night, citing questions related to the immigration status of a former household employee. Mr. Kerik’s swift fall – he was nominated only a week ago by President Bush to succeed Tom Ridge – came in a letter in which he called the offer “the honor of a lifetime” but said that “moving forward would not be in the best interest of your administration, the Department of Homeland Security or the American people.”
In reviewing his personal finances this week as he prepared for confirmation hearings, Mr. Kerik said in a statement issued late Friday, he determined that a housekeeper and nanny he had once employed was not clearly a legal immigrant and that he had not properly paid taxes on her behalf. “I uncovered information that now leads me to question the immigration status of a person who had been in my employ as a housekeeper and nanny,” Mr. Kerik said. “It has also been brought to my attention that for a period of time during such employment required tax payments and related filings had not been made.”
His lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said that Mr. Kerik called the president at 8:30 p.m. to inform him of the decision. The White House had not pressured him to withdraw, Mr. Tacopina said, but he decided he had to do so because as homeland security secretary, he would be in charge of supervising the nation’s immigration laws.
I thought the nanny issue was rather silly when Zoe Baird and others fell prey to it during the Clinton administration. Still, it’s rather embarrasing for someone who was going to be in charge of enforcing our immigration laws.