A conservative super PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove was forced to apologize on Monday after the group suggested U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson was drunk when he had a series of car wrecks that were later determined to be caused by seizures.
A statement by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said on Saturday that Bryson was being investigated for felony hit-and-run after he had three accidents in the span of several minutes, but initial reports indicated no drugs or alcohol were involved.
Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC tweeted a jab at the Obama administration official early Monday morning.
“How does @CommerceSec have 3 car crashes in 5 minutes and alcohol NOT be involved? #Skills,” the Twitter posting said, according to ABC News.
Commerce Department spokesperson Jennifer Friedman later confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that that the accidents were the result of a medical condition.
“Secretary Bryson was involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles over the weekend. He suffered a seizure,” Friedman said. “He was taken to the hospital for examination and remained overnight for observation. He was released and has returned to Washington. The investigation is ongoing.”
An unnamed official told CNN that Bryson had been treated with seizure medication.
By 9 a.m. ET on Monday, American Crossroads had deleted their first tweet and replaced it with an apology.
“Earlier Bryson tweet with hashtag #skills attempted levity (before facts known) and failed miserably. We took it down and regret the tweet,” the group wrote.
American Crossroads and its sister organization, Crossroad GPS, have pledged to spend up to $300 million to defeat President Barack Obama during the 2012 election cycle.
Update (3:15 p.m. ET): White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday declined to say if Bryson was fit to continue serving as Commerce Secretary.
Watch this video from The Associated Press, broadcast June 11, 2012