Nonpartisan truth

Chavez falls victim

to credibility deficit

Linda Chavez knows this week how two of President Clinton's top choices for Cabinet-level positions felt eight years ago when violations of employment law killed their nominations.

Chavez, a former head of the Civil Rights Commission and President-elect Bush's choice for secretary of labor, Tuesday afternoon withdrew her nomination under withering fire for harboring, in her household, an admittedly illegal alien a Guatemalan woman and at least giving her money for doing some household chores.

Chavez, a strong conservative with a long resume' of service, would have overseen work by aliens, illegal and legal, as Labor secretary.

Chavez's ability and knowledge weren't questioned.

Her credibility, however, deserved the rigorous review applied by partisan Democrats and, as of late Monday and Tuesday, the Bush staff itself.

The bottom line with Chavez ultimately was determined by the same, reasonable standard applied privately and officially to other Cabinet nominees of many administrations: Truthfulness and obedience to the law.

She apparently failed those measures, and because of it, she won't be the next secretary of labor.

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