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Blank leaves Commerce post

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Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank is leaving the Obama administration to become chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

President Obama acknowledged her departure in a statement Monday thanking her for her “hard work and exceptional service.”

Over the past four years, he said Ms. Blank distinguished herself as a “steady leader and a vital member of my economic team.”

“A tireless advocate for American businesses, Becky has helped to increase our competitiveness, support our innovators and entrepreneurs, and bring good-paying jobs back to our shores,” Mr. Obama said.

Ms. Blank joined the Commerce Department in 2009 as an economic adviser and was later promoted to deputy secretary. She was named acting secretary last year after John Bryson suffered a seizure and resigned.

The president has not named a nominee to run the department permanently. Top Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker is considered a leading candidate for the post.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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