Memo From Bryson: Health Issues Force Me To Take Leave

Following a pair of unusual weekend collisions near his home in California, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson on Monday night notified the president he was taking medical leave and then wrote a memo handing over his duties to his top deputy, Rebecca Blank. Earlier in the day, a White House spokesman said Bryson suffered a seizure during the weekend but stopped short of saying it was the cause of the collisions.

Here’s the text of Bryson’s memo, released by the Commerce Department:

June 11, 2012


FROM: Secretary John Bryson

SUBJECT: Transfer of Duties During Medical Leave of Absence

I notified President Obama this evening that effective immediately I am taking a medical leave of absence so that I can focus all of my attention on resolving the health issues that arose over the weekend.  During the period of my illness, I will not perform the functions and duties of my office.  Therefore, by operation of law, as my first assistant you will act in my stead for the duration of my absence. 


Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at