Slippery Sledd-ing

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Verrrry clever.
Even though Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) dropped Richmond businessman Robert Sledd as his nominee for commerce and trade secretary under pressure from Democratic lawmakers, the governor is directing Sledd to attend daily Cabinet meetings.

McDonnell named Sledd as an unpaid senior economic adviser after it became clear that he could not win confirmation for the Cabinet post from the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The governor has not released a description of the new job, which did not exist in the previous administration. Sledd has an office alongside McDonnell's in the Patrick Henry Building and expects to report to work daily.

"I can invite anybody to the Cabinet that I want," McDonnell said in an interview. "I think Bob Sledd is probably the best job creator in Virginia and that's my top priority, and so when I'm talking to people in my Cabinet about job creation, I want him there for advice, for guidance."
Ah yes, "guidance." Like, perhaps, "guiding" the cabinet on decisions that might affect corporations whose boards Robert Sledd served on, and almost certainly will serve on again after the McDonnell administration gig comes to an end? How is Robert Sledd's influence any less because he doesn't have the title of "Secretary" but apparently has all the power that goes along with that title?

In short, it appears that Bob McDonnell has been quite clever here, even slippery, in figuring out an end run around Senate Democrats - who were almost certain to reject Sledd's appointment as Commerce Secretary - by appointing him to a senior position with (apparently) the same duties, but without the title. Welcome to ethics, Bob McDonnell style. Slippery Sledd-ing.