President-elect Obama named New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as his commerce secretary nominee today, putting Richardson on track to be the voice of the US business community in Obama's cabinet. Richardson will also lead international trade missions, watch over the 2010 census, and oversee the Patent and Trademark Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Office (an agency involved in the climate change debate).
But not everyone is pleased. Chinese-American activists in California have planned a nationwide protest to the appointment of Gov. Richardson, who enjoys popularity among Latino Americans as his demographic's most prominent politician. The Chinese-American group maintains that when Richardson was President Clinton's energy secretary he handled the case of Taiwanese-American Wen Ho Lee in a way that made all Chinese-Americans seem like potential spies. To find out more about this controversy, read more.
In 1999 the Clinton Administration accused Wen Ho Lee, a former nuclear scientist at UCLA, of stealing the "crown jewels" of America's nuclear weapon program to give to China. But later the government admitted that none of the information was classified and 99 percent of it was available to the public. Richardson acknowledged that he made errors in his handling of that case, during a Democratic presidential debate years later. But many Chinese-Americans still wait for an actual apology.
Do you think Richardson should apologize to the Chinese-American community?