Friday, May 10, 2013

Obomination: More Problems with Labor Secretary Nominee Thomas Perez

Thomas Perez's nomination for Labor Secretary, as well as his activities as Assistant Attorney General for the civil division of the Department of Justice are extremely troubling.  First, let’s take some quotes from Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte from his statement Tuesday:

We are here today to examine a secret deal struck by a senior Justice Department official, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.  This secret deal was brokered by Mr. Perez with the City of St. Paul in order to prevent a case from being decided by the Supreme Court.  In this exchange, Mr. Perez pressured officials at both the Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to overrule career attorneys and abandon two pending False Claims Act cases against St. Paul.  This quid pro quo potentially cost American taxpayers over $200 million dollars.

The Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees have been conducting an investigation into this matter for over six months and last month released a report, detailing this backroom deal.

The report found among other things:

·         That Assistant Attorney General Perez was personally and directly involved in negotiating the mechanics of the quid pro quo and he personally agreed to the quid pro quo on behalf of the United States during a closed-door meeting with the Mayor in St. Paul;

·         That despite the Department of Justice’s contention that the intervention recommendation in Newell was a “close call” and “marginal,” contemporaneous documents show the Department believed that Newell alleged a “particularly egregious example of false certifications” and therefore the United States sacrificed strong allegations of false claims worth as much as $200 million to the Treasury;

·         That Mr. Perez attempted to cover up the quid pro quo when he personally instructed career attorneys to omit a discussion of the Supreme Court case in the declination memos that outlined the reasons for the Department’s decision to decline intervention in Newell and Ellis;

·         That Mr. Perez attempted to cover up the quid pro quo when he insisted that the final deal with the City settling two cases worth potentially millions of dollars to the Treasury not be reduced to writing, instead insisting that your “word was your bond”; and that

·         That Mr. Perez made multiple statements to the Committees that contradicted testimony from other witnesses and documentary evidence.

The case against Perez is going strong and his defense ridiculous.  Among other things, it has come out that Perez had over 1200 personal emails on Department of Justice matters.  His excuse: “he wanted to work after hours.”  Former DOJ employee Hans Von Spakovsky blasts back at that:

As head of the Civil Rights Division, Perez most certainly had the same type of equipment and tools, completely obviating the need to use a personal e-mail account “to review or edit documents after normal working hours.” A far more plausible reason for using a personal e-mail account to conduct official business is to avoid having to produce e-mails in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and congressional subpoenas or having those e-mails become part of the official Justice Department files.
It is not just Bush appointees like Hans who are trboubled by Perez and DOJ's action.  liberal Democrat Elijah Cummings has signed a letter demanding Perez turn over these emails.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee signed a letter Wednesday with panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) calling on Perez to turn over by Friday unredacted copies of 1200 work-related emails he sent on a personal e-mail account.

As said before, Perez's activities at Department of Justice deserve much further scrutiny.  Instead he is being promoted to Labor Secretary and that is an Obomination. 

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