"Malek is best known in political circles for resigning in 1988 as George Bush's hand-picked deputy chairman for the Republican National Committee after the Post's Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward reported that 17 years earlier, Malek had, at Richard Nixon's request, counted the number of Jews then working for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Thirteen, if you must know, though Malek only looked at 35 of the bureau's 50 top employees.) "
Some people might ask- what is the statute of limitations on a mistake someone made like this 40 years ago? I don't think such a thing exists when you are talking about identifying and counting the number of Jews in government positions less than 30 years after the Holocaust. It's petrifying that this could have happened in this country.
Here's the story (condensed for space here, but viewable in full on Slate):
Later that day (according to a July 3, 1971, tape widely publicized on its release by the National Archives in 1999), Nixon and Colson, now alone, had the following exchange:
Nixon: Well, listen, are they all Jews over there?
Colson: Every one of them. Well, a couple of exceptions.
Nixon: See my point?
Colson: You know goddamn well they're out to kill us.
Also that day, Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, had the following conversation (this, too, is from the July 3, 1971, tape that was released in 1999):
Nixon: Now, point: [Fred] Malek is not Jewish.
Nixon: All right, I want a look at any sensitive areas around where Jews are involved, Bob. See, the Jews are all through the government, and we have got to get in those areas. We've got to get a man in charge who is not Jewish to control the Jewish … do you understand?
Haldeman: I sure do.
Nixon: The government is full of Jews. Second, most Jews are disloyal. You know what I mean? You have a [White House Counsel Leonard] Garment and a [National Security Adviser Henry] Kissinger and, frankly, a [White House speechwriter William] Safire, and, by God, they're exceptions. But Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?
"Two days later, on July 26, Haldeman sends a memo to Malek. "What's the status of your analysis of the BLS; specifically of the 21 key people?" Haldeman writes. "What is their demographic breakdown?"
Six weeks pass, and it is Sept. 8, 1971. Malek reports in a memo (previously unpublished; thanks, again, to Kenneth J. Hughes) that he has had "several meetings" with Labor Secretary Hodgson "to convince him of the need for fairly drastic moves." Six out of nine offices will be combined into an Office of Data Analysis. This will be headed by a "politically sensitive, loyal Republican economist," presumably one who does not have a mezuzah nailed to his front door. The move will strip the BLS' deputy commissioner, the unfortunately surnamed Ben Burdetsky, from authority "over the most critical areas.
In addition, Malek reports, two other associate commissioners with Jewish-sounding names—Peter Henle and Leon Greenberg—"will be transferred when the reorganization is announced." (Henle, after a sabbatical at the Brookings Institution, was reassigned to the Library of Congress and after Jimmy Carter became president in 1977 returned to the Labor department* as a deputy assistant secretary before retiring in 1979. He died at 88 this past February. I don't know what happened to Greenberg.)
"These moves do not go as far as I would have preferred," writes Malek in the September 1971 memo, "but represent a reasonable compromise that I feel will make the BLS a more responsive and effective unit."
So, let me ask the obvious question: How is Fred Malek not in federal prison?
UPDATE: Statement from Delegate David Englin:
While I support the
effort to create a top-level commission to recommend
policies to reform government, it 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. Was there
really no more qualified individual in Virginia to lead this panel? Has
he done anything to disavow and make amends for his previous
anti-Semitism? Otherwise, it's one more slap in the face from McDonnell
to Jewish state employees, coming right on the heels of allowing
uniformed state police chaplains to proselytize to Jewish troopers and
their families. These continued missteps from the McDonnell
Administration are distractions from the competent and effective
governing Virginians expect and deserve.
UPDATE #2- Another Jewish Delegate speaks out. Statement from Delegate Adam Ebbin: