U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson will be taking a leave of absence from his post while doctors attempt to ascertain the cause of seizures that the former head of Edison International and founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council sustained on Saturday.
The Weekly has learned that Bryson,
who passed a breathalyzer administered by cops, may then have been admitted to Huntington Hospital where his wife, Louise Bryson, has major pull--and where he could have received special
Bryson sent a memo, obtained by the Washington Post, to employees of the Commerce Department on Monday evening:
Dear Commerce Team,
This evening, I notified Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank that I am taking a medical leave of absence in order to focus on resolving my health issues that arose over the weekend.
During this time, I will not perform the functions and duties of Commerce Secretary. Therefore, I am transferring these responsibilities to Dr. Blank who will serve as Acting Secretary, effective immediately.
As you know, Dr. Blank has strengthened our Department in this role before. I have every confidence in her.
I know that all of you will work to make this a seamless transition, and I thank you in advance for your continued work to help America's businesses drive economic growth and job creation at this crucial moment in our nation's recovery.
Finally, I want to thank all of you personally for your warm thoughts and support.
Speculation has run rampant since the secretary was involved in a strange series of car accidents in the San Gabriel Valley over the weekend.
Officials at the Department of Commerce have said that Bryson has "limited recall" of Saturday's events, during which he reportedly rear-ended a Buick waiting at railroad crossing twice, before striking a second car less than two miles later.
The secretary was found unconscious in his vehicle at the site of the second accident.
American Crossroads, the Super PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove tweeted its incredulity yesterday:
The nearest hospital to the scene would have been the Silver Lake Medical Center, less than a mile from the spot where Bryson was found unconscious in his Lexus.
But, the Weekly learned from an anonymous source yesterday, about seven miles and fifteen minutes away is Huntington Hospital--where Bryson's well-positioned wife, Louise, sits on the board of directors.
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The question is, if Bryson was indeed admitted to Huntington Hospital, could he have been given special treatment because of his wife's position there?
A representative from the Sheriff's Department said he could not disclose to which hospital the secretary was taken. He did however say that blood samples, of the kind that were taken after the crash to confirm the secretary's sobriety, would have been administered by that hospital.
Bryson was cited for a felony hit and run, but was not arrested at the time.
The White House was not notified of the accidents until late Sunday night; President Obama himself was informed Monday morning. Officials from both the Department of Commerce and the White House told reporters that this was the first time Bryson had suffered a seizure.