Kerik withdraws from nomination

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December 10 2004

United States President George W. Bush's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, has declined to continue through Senate confirmation. In a letter to President Bush, Kerik explained that the immigration status of a housekeeper and nanny, as well as nonpayment of income tax on the housekeeper were his reasons for retracting.

However, Kerik's past dealings may have been the strongest reason for his decision to withdraw from the nomination. Newsweek has uncovered that as recently as 1998, a New Jersey judge had issued an arrest warrant for Kerik following a tangled web of lawsuits relating to unpaid bills on a condominum. Newsday and the Seattle Times have reported that Kerik may have business ties to the Mob and allegations of two extramarital affairs have arisen.

In addition, his windfall profit from stock options in Taser International (i.e. "Taser guns") with no apparent investment, has been under heavy investigation. Kerik received a profit of more than USD $6 million after selling his stock in early November, just before an Amnesty International report critical of Taser guns was released. Kerik had joined Taser International's board shortly after resigning as New York City's police commissioner; both the NYPD and Department of Homeland Security have purchased large amounts of Taser's non-lethal electroshock weapons.

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