Newly elected president George W. Bush's choice for Labor Secretary when he took office in 2001 turned out to be a contentious one. Bush nominated Linda Chavez, a conservative columnist and author and founder of the Center for Equal Opportunity, who vocally and staunchly opposed organized labor unions.
Chavez's appointment revealed the very active role the media plays in modern politics. Within days of her nomination in January 2001, news reports surfaced of her relationship with a Guatemalan woman she knew was residing in the United States illegally and whom Chavez allowed to live in her home for two years in the early 1990s. The key issue was whether money Chavez had given the woman was charity to help a woman in need, as Chavez alleged, or if it amounted to wages for an illegal immigrant housekeeper [source: Schmitt and McLean]. The issue was never fully resolved. The media spotlight caused Chavez to withdraw her name from consideration one week after she was nominated, blaming the "'search and destroy' politics of Washington" and Democrats seeking retribution after their narrow defeat in the 2000 presidential election [source: CNN].