By SHARON THEIMERWASHINGTON (AP) ¿ President Barack Obama's nominee for commerce secretary will take a pay cut should he get the job. Gary Locke's income topped $1 million over the past year, according to a financial report released Thursday. The former Washington governor earned $533,000 in salary from the Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremaine from January 2008 to the present and a state pension of about $121,000. He also received $101,000 in director's fees from Seattle-based Safeco Insurance Co., $467,000 from deferred Safeco fees and a stock cashout, $15,000 in director's fees from Key Technology Inc. in Walla Walla, Wash., and $19,250 from consulting work for Waggener Edstrom, a Bellevue, Wash., public relations firm. Cabinet secretaries earn $196,700 a year. The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of Locke, Obama's third choice for the post. Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he wants Locke on the job as soon as possible. "The American people deserve to know that the person working with Congress and this committee every day, to determine the best way to reboot this economy, is a person who ¿ simply put ¿ gets it," Rockefeller said.
Senate leaders hope to schedule a confirmation vote on Locke quickly. Locke listed bank accounts and other assets worth a total of about $1.5 million to $5.4 million in his personal financial disclosure report. Cabinet nominees are allowed to give assets' values in broad ranges rather than specific figures. His major holdings include $100,000 to $250,000 in stock in Microsoft Corp., the software giant that was also among Locke's legal clients. He holds $50,000 to $100,000 each in the Costco Wholesale Group and Esterline Technologies Corp., and $15,000 to $50,000 in coffee outlet Starbucks Corp. Most of Locke's investments are in the $1,000 to $15,000 range. Those include stock in dozens of well-known companies such as computer company Apple Inc., online retailer Amazon.com Inc., pharmaceutical maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., oil company Chevron Corp., General Electric Co., Internet company Google Inc., Kraft Foods Inc., toymaker Mattel Inc. and telecommunications company AT&T Inc. Locke serves on the board of Chinese-based telecommunications software company mInfo and has $50,000 to $100,000 in stock. Should the Senate confirm him as commerce secretary as expected, Locke will exercise his vested mInfo stock options and divest the stock, and forfeit any unvested stock options.
Locke plans to keep his account in Davis Wright Tremaine's retirement plan, but neither he nor the firm would contribute anything more to it. Locke has served as an adviser to several companies, including Blue Marble Energy, General Biodiesel and technology company Eden Rock, all in Washington state, and Q Tires Inc., a tire company based in Greenville, S.C. If he becomes commerce secretary, he will divest his vested stock in Eden Rock and forfeit unvested stock, keep his stock options in Blue Marble Energy and exercise vested stock options in General Biodiesel and then divest them. He also will exercise vested stock options in Q Tires, his financial disclosure report says. Locke became Obama's third pick for commerce secretary after two previous nominees withdrew. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew amid an inquiry into the awarding of state contracts, and Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., changed his mind about working for the Democratic president. The Commerce Department has a broad array of responsibilities, including the 2010 census, many aspects of international trade, oceans policy, weather forecasts, the nation's transition to digital television and expanding rural broadband Internet service. ___
Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report. ___ On the Net: Commerce Department: http://www.commerce.gov/