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Entries in Resignation (14)

Wednesday
Nov212012

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Resignation Could Cost Taxpayers $5.1 Million

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from the House could cost Illinois taxpayers more than $5.1 million, according to the state elections board.

Jackson, Jr. offered his resignation Wednesday to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Jackson has been absent from the Capitol for months while undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic. In addition, his use of campaign funds is being investigated by federal authorities.

Looking at two special House elections held in Illinois in recent years — those to replace GOP House speaker Denny Hastert and Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel — the Illinois State Board of Elections calculated those elections cost $2,700 to $4,000 per precinct. With 590 precincts in Jackson’s 2nd Congressional District, an election would probably cost around $2,575,000, the state board told ABC News.

Illinois will hold two special elections to replace Jackson, a primary and a general, and the state board projects that replacing Jackson could cost $5.15 million total.

That’s just a projection, and it assumes that the 2nd Congressional District will hold the special elections on their own days. State law will likely allow for the primary, but not the general, to be held alongside already-scheduled votes for state and local offices.

Jackson hasn’t officially won re-election yet, as the state won’t certify election results until Dec. 2. Officials are unsure of whether that will affect how Gov. Pat Quinn handles Jackson’s resignation, an official with the state elections board said. Jackson handily defeated Republican lawyer Brian Woodworth with 63 percent of the vote, according to the still-unofficial results.

Quinn, a Democrat, must set a special-election date within five days, under Illinois law. The election must be held in the 115 days after that.

Jackson may have cost taxpayers extra by resigning so suddenly.

To save money, the 2nd District could hold its special election on Illinois’ consolidated election schedule at the same time as lesser races throughout the state.

But that doesn’t seem possible under Illinois’s statutory special-election timeline. Illinois primaries will happen Feb. 26, but the April 9 general-election date falls outside the 115-day special-election range. Counting Thursday as day 1, March 21 is the earliest the 2nd District special election could be held.

Had Jackson waited until Dec. 15 to resign, Quinn could have scheduled the general special election for April 9, along with Illinois’ other general elections.

The cost of the special elections will be borne by the counties in Jackson’s district, as well as by the state.

Holding a statewide special election to replace governor Rod Blagojevich cost the state between $90 million and $100 million, according to estimates, the state elections board said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Fast and Furious Fallout: Former Deputy Director Leaving ATF

Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The former Deputy Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has left the agency in the wake of the fallout from the Fast and Furious gun walking scandal. William Hoover was no longer employed at the agency as of Aug. 1, 2012, according to an ATF spokesman. Officials declined to comment further citing the Privacy Act.
 
Hoover had served as the Deputy Director of the Bureau since February 2007 and was in that position during the Fast and Furious gun running scandal. Prior to being the number two at the ATF, Hoover had served as the Assistant Director for Field Operations. He joined the ATF in 1987 after having worked in Virginia at several law enforcement agencies. He had also served as special agent in charge of Boston and Washington Field Offices before going to the ATF Headquarters.
 
Under Fast and Furious ATF, agents recorded and tracked straw purchases of weapons which were allowed to walked across the U.S. border into Mexico and into the hands of cartel members. The ATF operation took a tragic toll when two guns linked to the operation were found near slain U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010.
 
Hoover had been briefed on Fast and Furious by ATF Agent William Newell who had been the special agent in charge overseeing the case. In March 2010 Hoover became concerned about the number of guns involved in the case and ordered ATF agents in Phoenix to wrap the case up in 90 days.
 
Hoover was among five ATF officials recently named in a Congressional report responsible for the botched gun running operation. The report, released earlier this week and prepared by Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, noted of Hoover and ATF Assistant Director Mark Chait, “Assistant Director Mark Chait and his superior, Deputy Director Hoover, had several opportunities to put an end to the operation but failed to do so. Hoover knew that Newell had employed risky tactics in the past as SAC yet failed to monitor him closely. Either Hoover did not ask the right questions or simply turned a blind eye to the unavoidable reality that reckless gunwalking tactics were being used again in Fast and Furious.”
 
Although Hoover had ordered his agents to wrap up the investigation within 90 days in March 2010 indictments were not returned by federal grand juries until January 2011.
 
Hoover was reassigned to a subordinate position last October when the newly appointed Acting Director of the ATF Todd Jones shook-up senior staff positions.
 
Last August Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona where operation Fast and Furious was overseen resigned from the Justice Department. The assistant U.S. attorney who helped run the program, Emory Hurley, has also been reassigned from working on criminal cases and is currently assigned to the civil division at the Arizona U.S. attorney’s office. William Newell was reassigned to ATF Headquarters from overseeing the Phoenix Field Office.
 
The Justice Department’s Inspector General report into Fast and Furious is expected to be released in the next several weeks.

Issa's investigation into the unfolding scandal led to contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Eric Holder, who was accused of shepherding the Fast and Furious -- and hiding documents about it. Prior to the contempt vote in June, President Obama asserted executive privilege to "freeze" some of the documents Holder refused to provide to Issa's House probe.
 
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

Richard Grenell, Openly Gay Romney Spokesman, Resigns from Post

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Richard Grenell, the openly gay foreign policy spokesman for the Romney campaign, resigned from his recently-appointed post on Tuesday, ABC News has confirmed.

“We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill,” Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager, told ABC News.

Grenell’s resignation was first reported by the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin.

“I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman,” Grenell said in a statement obtained by the Washington Post. “While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.”

Rubin reported that Grenell made his decision “after being kept under wraps” at a time when national security issues had risen to the forefront of the campaign and after activists on the right raised questions about his sexual orientation.

But, in an interview with ABC News, a source familiar with Grenell’s departure from the Romney campaign disputed the “under wraps” suggestion.

This source said Grenell, whose hiring was first reported on April 19, had not yet started his duties as the campaign’s top national security spokesman and was in the process of moving from Los Angeles to Boston.

Tuesday would have been his first actual day on the job.

“He wasn’t under wraps; he wasn’t a spokesperson yet,” according to the individual with knowledge of Grenell’s hiring and resignation. “If he had wanted to, he would be a spokesman right now.”

Among those who called Grenell in recent days to try to persuade him not to quit: his former boss and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton; and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

The Romney campaign hired Grenell, who served as communications director at the United Nations under President Bush and worked as a spokesman for a number of prominent Republicans including George Pataki and Dave Camp, in mid-April.

Shortly after the news of his hiring broke, Grenell was criticized not for his sexual orientation but for critical remarks he’d made on Twitter about Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista, Democratic women and the media. He later scrubbed the posts from his Twitter account.

But some social conservatives took issue with the Romney campaign’s hiring of an openly homosexual man.

In late April, a radio host for the American Family Association said that the hiring indicated the Romney campaign’s willingness to tell the so-called pro-family community to “drop dead.”

“The homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty and freedom of association in America today,” Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis at the American Family Association, said in an interview with CNN last month.

Democrats, including a member of the Obama campaign team, immediately pounced on the incident as an example of the Romney campaign caving to anti-gay forces on the right.

“Today we learned that in the year 2012, a Republican nominee for President can’t have a gay person as spokesman,” the Obama campaign’s digital director, Teddy Goff, tweeted.

And Bill Burton, a former White House spokesman who is now the head of a Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action, said in an interview with ABC News that Grenell’s departure was a “show of incredible weakness on the part of Mitt Romney.”

Burton pronounced it a sign that Romney would be at the “beck and call” of whichever individuals or groups he needs to win in November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

Head of Government Cost Cutting Resigns After Lavish Convention

Tom Williams/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama -- “outraged” by an inspector general’s report detailing lavish spending by the government agency in charge of cutting costs -- has fired the head of that agency, Martha Johnson, the now-former administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration. Technically, White House officials, upon his order, sought her resignation, and she submitted it.

The GSA helps to manage the basic functions of federal agencies, including by developing policies intended to minimize the cost of doing business with the federal government.

Despite that charge, GSA spent $835,000 on a Las Vegas convention in 2010 for 300 employees, which included thousands of dollars spent on items such as a commemorative coin set, a mind reader, a comedian and a clown.

It was GSA Inspector General Brad Miller who brought the expenses to light. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew in a statement said, “When the White House was informed of the Inspector General’s findings we acted quickly to determine who was responsible for such a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars. The President was informed before his trip to South Korea, and he was outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars. He called for all those responsible to be held fully accountable given that these actions were irresponsible and entirely inconsistent with the expectations that he has set as President.”

Johnson in her letter to GSA employees acknowledged that the Agency “made a significant mis-step,” as discovered by the Inspector General, “an internal conference in which taxpayer dollars were squandered led me to launch internal reviews, take disciplinary personnel action, and institute tough new controls to ensure this incident is not repeated.”

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., called it “hypocritical that such a large agency with critical management responsibilities across government would hold this luxurious conference at the height of the recession and even spend thousands on custom made coins touting the stimulus,” particularly after “President Obama lectured the private sector about not wasting funds on Las Vegas conventions.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct062011

Head of Embattled Energy Loan Program Steps Down

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The head of the Energy Department's embattled loan program, Jonathan Silver, resigned Thursday after a tumultuous month during which the program's first loan recipient, the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, declared bankruptcy, leading to a wave of scrutiny for his agency.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu confirmed in a statement emailed to ABC News that Silver had stepped down, but said his departure had long been expected.

"Under his leadership, the loan program has demonstrated considerable success, with a broad portfolio of investments that will help American companies compete in the global clean energy market," Chu said. "Because of my absolute confidence in Jonathan and the outstanding work he has done, I would welcome his continued service at the Department, but I completely understand the decision he has made."

Silver's departure came on the same day that President Obama was forced to defend his administration's decision to lend $535 million to Solyndra, a decision that came despite deep misgivings among professional budget analysts inside the government. His administration was facing intense scrutiny over the loan decision, both from Republicans in Congress, but also from inspectors general at two agencies and from the Justice Department.

Last month, the California solar panel manufacturer filed for bankruptcy. Days later, the FBI raided its headquarters in what sources have said is a probe to determine whether the company misled officials in order to obtain federal support.

ABC News, working in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, first reported on simmering questions about the loan program in March. Already, government auditors had begun questioning whether the Energy Department was giving favorable treatment to some applicants -- including Solyndra. At the time, Silver strongly defended the loan to Solyndra, promising that the company would be delivering thousands of new American jobs.

Energy Department officials and the White House have maintained that politics never entered the equation when loans were being considered. But critics of the administration questioned whether there was political influence, noting that a top investor in Solyndra was also a major fundraiser during Obama's 2008 campaign.

Silver defended the program last month in an appearance before Congress, but deflected questions about the Solyndra loan, telling members he had arrived at the department after the loan had already gained approval.

"Support for innovative technologies comes with inherent risks," Silver testified.

But a House subcommittee investigating the Solyndra loan had deeper questions about Silver's decision to restructure the deal after the company was already showing significant signs of financial distress. At the time the Energy Department restructured the deal, the company had used $460 million in federal loan money to help build a new solar cell manufacturing plant. The company would receive another $67 million in taxpayer funds before shutting its doors on Aug. 31. And the new arrangement gave private investors the first crack at recouping funds after Solyndra filed for bankruptcy.

Silver testified that the restructuring was critical -- a step needed to give the faltering company a "fighting chance" to survive.

Republicans who are heading the congressional probe -- Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.) and Cliff Stearns (Fla.) -- released a statement Thursday saying they do not believe Silver's resignation will keep them from seeking more answers.

"Mr. Silver's resignation does not solve the problem," the congressmen said in a joint statement. "American taxpayers are already on the hook for the half billion dollar Solyndra bust - what other shoes does this Administration expect to drop?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul262011

Rep. David Wu Resigns amid Accusations of Sexual Misconduct

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Congressman David Wu, D-Ore., is resigning his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives following an accusation of sexual misconduct with a young woman.

On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for an ethics investigation into the accusations that the congressman actively engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior with a donor’s daughter.

"The time has come to hand on the privilege of high office," Wu said Tuesday in announcing his resignation. "I cannot care for my family the way I wish while serving in Congress and fighting these very serious allegations.”

Earlier this year, Wu, a father of two, admitted to sending late-night emails to staffers, including one with a photo of himself dressed in a tiger costume.

“I did some things, I said some things which I sincerely regret now,” the congressman told ABC News in February. “And as a result of those things I saw fit to consult professional help.”

On Tuesday, Wu said the “wellbeing of my children must come before anything else.”

“With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.”

Wu told ABC News earlier this year that he was being treated with medication and counseling after his staffers staged an “intervention.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

Anthony Weiner Has Left the Building

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At approximately 12:01pm Thursday -- a full week after Rep. Anthony Weiner announced his intention to step down from his congressional post -- the House Clerk finally announced Weiner’s resignation on the House floor.

A letter from New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales was read by the clerk:

“As New York’s Secretary of State I have received the resignation of Anthony D. Weiner as New York’s 9th Congressional District representative in the United States House of Representatives. The New York State Department of State filed a letter today. A copy of his letter of resignation is attached,” the Clerk read from the letter.

House Speaker John Boehner then announced the new whole number of the House of Representatives:

“Under clause 5D of rule 20, the chair announces to the House that in light of the resignation of the gentleman from New York, Mr. Weiner, the whole number of the House is 432,” Boehner declared.

Weiner’s office is vacant. His staff will remain employed under the supervision of the Clerk until Weiner’s successor is elected.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun202011

Anthony Weiner Submits Letter of Resignation

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Following his announcement Thursday about his plans to resign, Anthony Weiner officially submitted his letter of resignation on Monday.

Weiner, who decided to step down after admitting to engaging in inappropriate electronic relationships with several women over a three-year period, stated in the letter that he would be resigning as a member of the House of Representatives from New York’s Ninth Congressional District, effective midnight on June 21.

Weiner concluded the brief letter by saying, “It has been an honor to serve the people of Queens and Brooklyn.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun182011

Worse Than Weiner? Some Delinquent Lawmakers Kept Their Jobs

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following his admission to engaging in inappropriate electronic relationships with several women, Anthony Weiner announced Thursday that he would be resigning from office.

While Weiner’s actions cost him his job, there were some politicians in the past who found themselves in hot water and managed to keep their jobs while not having to deal with calls to resign.

When Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was indicted on 16 federal counts in 2007, neither then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ever explicitly called on him to step down.

Jefferson, who denied wrongdoing, served out his term despite the swirling allegations and intensive ethics investigations, and was only later tried, found guilty and sentenced to prison.

Pelosi and other party leaders also avoided public calls for the resignation of Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio before he was expelled from Congress in 2002 after a felony conviction, or of Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who was found guilty of 11 violations of House ethics rules and formally censured late last year.

Few political historians could recall when a sitting U.S. president so directly suggested that a member of Congress step down, as President Obama did regarding Weiner.

"Usually, presidents stay out of this stuff because it's just tradition for Congress to decide its own matters," said Princeton University political historian Julian Zelizer.

"The irony of the Weiner situation is that there have been scandals when the leadership has been much more quiet in both parties," he added.

Prominent Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who had also called on Weiner to resign, have declined to make similar pronouncements following alleged transgressions of their conservative peers.

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, who admitted ties to the so-called D.C. Madam prostitution ring and later apologized, may have actually committed a crime of soliciting a prostitute. But he remains in office.

During the months-long investigation into Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and his alleged cover up of a sex scandal with the wife of his former top aide, there were similarly no prominent public calls for him to resign.

The Senate Ethics Committee eventually concluded that Ensign made false statements to the Federal Election Commission and violated campaign finance laws and referred the case to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges. Ensign abruptly resigned just before the findings were released

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Anthony Weiner Resigns from Congress

Larry Lafferty/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Democrat Anthony Weiner resigned Thursday as U.S. representative from the 9th District of New York, saying the decision would benefit his party, constituents and wife Huma Abedin.

"I'm announcing my resignation from Congress so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and, most importantly, that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused," Weiner said at a news conference made raucous by loud yells from hecklers.

"I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do," he said. "Unfortunately, the distraction that I have created has made that impossible."

Weiner, 46, made the announcement at a senior center in Brooklyn, New York, where he first launched his political career nearly two decades ago. He said that despite his indiscretions, he would continue to pursue the spirit of public service that first led him to run for office.

"I'll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents to make sure that we live up to that most New York and American of ideals," he said just before concluding his remarks.

He did not take reporters' questions. His wife was not present.

Weiner's decision to leave office came 10 days after his news conference admitting he lied to his family, colleagues and constituents about risque online behavior with multiple women while married to Abedin.

While polls showed a majority of Weiner's constituents did not think he should resign, the embattled congressman had come under enormous pressure from Democratic Party leaders to step down because the swirling scandal was seen as a "distraction."

In the past week, President Obama, Democratic Party chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top congressional leaders have encouraged Weiner to resign.

"Today, he made the right judgment in resigning," Pelosi said in a statement. "I pray for him and his family and wish them well."

Pelosi signaled at an earlier news conference that Democrats now intend to pivot back to talking about the issues they'd rather discuss, including slamming Republicans on the budget and Medicare overhaul. Attention also shifts to who will replace Weiner.

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially announces the congressional vacancy, the state must hold a special election within 70 to 80 days, according to state law. The election, which will likely occur in early fall, will be the third in New York in less than one year triggered by the resignation of a congressman because of a sex scandal.

Weiner called House leaders Wednesday night at a White House picnic to inform them he would resign today, sources told ABC News.

Weiner, who has not been charged with or convicted of violating any laws or House ethics rules, had insisted he would remain in office despite the pressure from his colleagues. On Monday, he received a two-week temporary leave of absence from the House to receive "treatment" for an undisclosed condition at an unknown location.

Meanwhile, Weiner's wife returned from an overseas trip with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton early Wednesday morning and met with her husband in person for the first time since the sexting scandal broke. Weiner had told friends he was waiting for her return before making any decision about his political future.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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