WASHINGTON (AP) - A text of Bernard Kerik's statement explaining his reason for withdrawing as President Bush's nominee to be secretary of homeland security. The statement was separate from the resignation letter that he sent to the White House:
It is with deep regret that I announce that I cannot continue forward in the confirmation process for the position of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. While I will always consider the confidence President Bush has shown in me to be the honor of a lifetime, information has come to my attention which leaves me convinced that advancing further in the process would not be in the best interests of his administration, the Department of Homeland Security, or the American people.
In the course of completing documents required for Senate confirmation, I uncovered information that now leads me to question the immigration status of a person who had been in my employ as a housekeeper and nanny. It has also been brought to my attention that for a period of time during such employment required tax payments and related filings had not been made.
While I have already initiated efforts to fulfill any outstanding reporting requirements and tax obligations related to this issue, it is my belief that upon disclosure of this matter the intense scrutiny that it is likely to generate will only serve as a significant and unnecessary distraction to the vital efforts of Department of Homeland Security.
Under the president's leadership, our nation has the opportunity to continue to make bold strides against those that threaten our homeland. While I remain firm in my belief that I could make valuable contributions to the department and its efforts, I cannot and will not allow criticism or controversy related to matters personal to me to impede the focus or progress of these crucial endeavors.
For these reasons, I ask President George W. Bush to withdraw my nomination as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.