Commerce Pick Has Fundraising Skeletons

Locke is no slam dunk: Malkin
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2009 6:30 PM CST
Gary Locke, President Obama's likely nominee to be Commerce secretary, is seen in this 2003 file photo, when he was Washington state's governor.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – President Obama's administration surely hopes Gary Locke will prove a relatively uncontroversial pick for Commerce after the messy Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg nominations. Not likely, writes Michelle Malkin, who covered Locke for the Seattle Times when he was Washington's governor. Locke, she reminds, faced a series of probes from the IRS and Congress over fundraising violations by his gubernatorial campaign.

  • Convicted finance crook John Huang donated $19,000 to Locke and organized several fundraising events for him. Locke eventually had to give the $19,000 back.
  • Locke’s campaign failed to report thousands of dollars solicited through out-of-state fundraisers in 1997.
  • Most strangely, Locke accepted $13,100 from a Buddhist monastery. Several of the monks who allegedly donated couldn’t recall details or were unfamiliar with the name “Gary Locke”—suggesting they were straw donors used to mask the origin of the funds.