Reports to the contrary from her own office notwithstanding, Bonnie B. Whyte, head of public affairs at the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration, says she has no formal plans to change jobs.
"It is fair to say I'm looking around, but rumors of my pending departure are premature at best," Whyte said.
Whyte's future at the ITA has been the subject of in-house speculation since June, when an article touting the administration's version of trade legislation appeared in Business America magazine, a publication for which her office is responsible. The sponsor of a competing House bill complained, pointing out that federal statutes forbid lobbying in government-financed publications.
ITA public affairs officials, asked Friday about a report that the episode had culminated in Whyte's dismissal, said the magazine article had nothing to do with Whyte's pending departure.
Whyte, who was out of the office Friday, says the whys got well ahead of the wherefores: there is no pending departure. "I have told people in my office that I might be looking around," she said, adding ruefully, "I had hoped it was more low-key than that."
"I am obviously, as a political appointee, looking around to see how I might further contribute to the president," she said. "But no one has asked me to leave and I feel I'm doing quite a good job down here."