McDonnell and Malek

Fred Malek, the high-profile Republican donor, says he will not step down as chairman of Virginia’s government reform commission.

Malek played a role in a Nixon administration effort to round up Jews working for the federal government. He has apologized for his actions, but that didn’t quell criticism from Democrats. They say the incident makes Malek a poor choice to serve as the head of a panel tasked with making state government smaller.

Democrats also are upset because Malek personally paid a six-figure fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission stemming from a pension fraud case in Connecticut earlier this decade.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) stood by his man Friday. Here’s part of what the governor had to say to us outside the commission meeting:

Malek again apologized for his role in the Nixon “Jew counting” flap. He was joined by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford), who defended Malek:

Democrats hit on the Malek issue again Monday with a DPV-sponsored conference call, though it’s likely McDonnell will continue to dismiss the criticism as partisan politics.

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