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DeMint Opposes Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

DeMint Opposes Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary

Solis failed to disclose work with pro-union lobbying group while serving in Congress, failed to disclose unpaid taxes in vetting process, and opposes worker rights

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on his opposition to President Obama's nominee for Labor Secretary, U.S. Representative Hilda Solis (D-California). Solis served on the board of directors and as treasurer for American Rights at Work, which actively lobbies Congress to end secret ballot elections in the workplace. She did not report her work for the pro-union group to Congress, failed to disclose unpaid taxes to the White House, and gave evasive answers on direct policy questions in her testimony before Congress.

"President Obama promised that his cabinet would be held to the highest standards, yet Hilda Solis skirted ethics rules to work for a liberal activist group and failed to be forthcoming on her tax problems," said Senator DeMint. "American workers deserve a labor secretary who will fight for their right to a secret ballot, but Congresswoman Solis has a long history opposing this basic American right. Instead, she has worked closely with union bosses to deny worker rights. Her conduct is unacceptable and I cannot support her nomination."

According to Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and a Justice Department official:

Solis was a co-sponsor in 2007 of the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act," the card check legislation that would effectively eliminate the secret ballot and destroy the ability of employees to make an anonymous decision (without fear of retribution) on whether they want to join a union. She was also a co-sponsor of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, legislation that would force states to allow public safety officers to form unions. At the same time, however, Solis was a board member of a pro-union organization, American Rights at Work, that has been lobbying Congress on both of these bills. According to a letter filed by Solis with the House Clerk on January 29, 2009, she was not just a director of the ARW, along with fellow travelers like David Bonior, Julian Bond, and John Sweeney, she was actually the treasurer. In other words, she is the official legally charged with the fiduciary duty of approving and signing off on all spending by the organization. And to make matters worse, she did not reveal to her colleagues in the House of Representatives that membership on her financial disclosure forms, which may constitute a separate ethical violation.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics and a review of the lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress, ARW spent $110,000 in 2007 and $120,000 in 2008 on lobbying expenses. And what were the "[s]pecific lobbying issues" listed on the forms? They included the "Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800/S. 1041)" and the "Public Safety /Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007 (H.R. 980)." As treasurer of ARW, Solis would have approved the spending by ARW on lobbying other members of Congress on both of these bills she was sponsoring for passage.

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