Today’s Washington Examiner proposes some questions which Senators should ask Obama Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis.
Solis is treasurer and a member of the board of directors of American Rights at Work (ARW), the 501c4, non-profit group that has received at least $1 million in contributions from labor unions. ARW spent more than $230,000 in 2007 and 2008 lobbying Congress on two bills Solis actively co-sponsored – the Employee Free Choice Act and the Public Safety Employer/Employee Cooperation Act. Both bills are top priorities for labor bosses who spent in excess of $300 million electing Democrats to Congress in 2008. Solis failed to note her role as ARW treasurer on her congressional disclosure reports, as she is required to do under House rules. As treasurer, she was required by IRS rules to account for all spending by the group, so her role was hardly ceremonial or passive, as claimed by her supporters.
But ARW also spent thousands of dollars on television spots described by the group in its report to the FEC as “electioneering communications.” Since as treasurer, Solis is required to approve all ARW spending, she must have signed off on the spots. This may well put her and ARW in violation of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002. Among the Republicans targeted by ARW were incumbents Norm Coleman, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Gordon Smith, and John Sununu.
Hardly the kind of thing to make Republican Senators feel charitable toward her.
But ethics rules and possible conflicts of interest aside, Solis’s close involvement with ARW alone should make her ability to carry out her job in an impartial manner suspect (as I’ve noted previously).