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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Watchdogs Slam President’s Perez Power Play

    Watchdogs Slam President’s Perez Power Play

    President may tap labor secretary Perez to succeed Holder

    Tom Perez / AP

    BY: Bill McMorris
    September 30, 2014 5:00 am

    Rumors that President Barack Obama may tap controversial Labor Secretary Tom Perez to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder are drawing fire from government and labor watchdogs.

    The White House is considering naming Perez to be the nation’s top law enforcement official, according to a report published Monday by Politico. Perez, a two-time Obama appointee at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the Department of Labor, would succeed Holder, whose tenure was marred by controversy, scandal, and calls for his resignation.
    “Perez fits all the qualities that Eric Holder had: A lack of ethics, disrespect for the rule of the law, and placing ideology first,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

    Perez played a part in one of the first controversies that ensnared Holder when the Civil Rights division dropped voter intimidation charges against two members of the New Black Panther Party who brandished weapons outside of a Philadelphia polling place in 2008.

    Perez’s division chose not to pursue charges over the objections of the attorneys in charge of the investigation. The DOJ’s handling of the case led the inspector general to review its operations, according to Fitton.

    “Tom Perez was one of the reasons we need civil rights investigation at the civil rights division,” Fitton said. “He was the point man in terms of enforcing law in racially biased manner.”

    Perez faced additional scrutiny when Obama nominated him to succeed former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in 2013.

    An inspector general’s report at the Civil Rights Division revealed that Perez thought voter protection laws “did not cover white citizens.A House Oversight Committee investigation found that Perez used his private email account to conduct government business, a practice that can be used to dodge transparency laws.

    He also came under fire for throwing out a $200 million whistle blower lawsuit because it could overturn disparate impact, a controversial legal principle on discrimination.

    Perez narrowly won Senate confirmation to the Labor Department on a party line vote in 2013.

    Labor watchdogs were also forceful in their opposition to Perez

    Ryan Williams of Worker Center Watch said that the labor secretary’s brief stint at the Labor Department has been defined by divisiveness and political ideology, rather than effective leadership or unbiased regulation. He pointed to the department’s funding of union front groups known as worker centers as an example of his bias.

    “Perez has been charged with enforcing existing labor law. Unfortunately, he’s chosen only to enforce the law when it applies to employers, not to the Administration’s union allies,” Williams said in a release. “While the politicization of federal agencies is running critique of the Obama administration, the Justice Department is the one agency that should remain above the fray of politics, and Perez has demonstrated that he is incapable of serving as a neutral arbiter of the law.”

    Patrick Semmens, a spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation, said that Perez’s record gives no indication that he will abandon his politics to administer the law in a neutral manner.

    “Tom Perez as Attorney General is a scary thought. If Perez is allowed to operate the Department of Justice the way he has run the Labor Department, he will consistently put the priorities of the president’s key political backers ahead of the rights of regular Americans,” he said.

    Perez passed the Senate labor committee on a party line vote. Fitton said that getting Senate confirmation previously is no guarantee that Perez will survive the extra scrutiny that comes with the attorney general’s office.

    “Even in a lame duck session, he may be a bridge too far for Democrats,” he said.

    The White House did not return request for comment regarding Perez or other potential replacements.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Going Into Labor

    Perez expected to be grilled by Republican senators

    Tom Perez / AP

    BY: Bill McMorris
    April 18, 2013 5:00 am

    A Senate committee will begin debate on President Barack Obama’s controversial nominee to head the Department of Labor Thursday morning.

    Tom Perez will appear before the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to answer questions about labor policy. He is also expected to be asked about the controversy that has plagued his tenure as the head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

    Lawmakers are calling on Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), ranking Republican on the committee, and others in the minority to shed some light on Perez’s record during the hearing.

    “Mr. Perez will have a lot of questions to answer this week as the Senate considers his nomination,”Grassley said on Sunday. “Not only was he the ringleader of the quid pro quo deal that ensured the taxpayer would not be able to recover hundreds of millions of dollars, but he has been misleading and less than forthcoming with our committees and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.”

    The House Oversight Committee released a report Sunday that revealed Perez allegedly tossed out a $200 million fraud lawsuit against the city of St. Paul, Minn., in exchange for the city dropping a separate lawsuit that was heading to the Supreme Court.

    Oversight chairman Darryl Issa (R., Calif.) said Perez was concerned the high court would use the city’s suit to throw out the constitutionally dubious legal doctrine of disparate impact, which makes it easier for minorities to sue for discrimination.

    “’Disparate impact’ is found where an employer’s neutral practice has more of a negative effect on members of a certain group protected by the federal anti-discrimination laws,” said Robin Shea, a labor attorney with Constangy, Brooks, and Smith. “For example, a pre-employment test that is administered to all applicants but has a statistically significant difference in failure rates based on the race of the applicant could be said to have a ‘disparate impact’ on members of that racial group.”

    The Supreme Court dealt disparate impact a blow in 2009 when it ruled in favor of several white and Hispanic firefighters who were denied promotions despite passing officers exams. The city of New Haven threw out the test results because too few black firefighters received passing grades.

    Perez has also been accused of suggesting civil rights laws do not apply to white people.

    The department declined to prosecute two members of the New Black Panther Party who brandished weapons at a Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 election.

    Perez said voting rights laws did “not cover white citizens,” according to an inspector general reportreleased in March.
    J. Christian Adams, who resigned his post at the Civil Rights Division in protest of the Black Panther case, called Perez the “most extreme cabinet appointee in 70 years.”

    “People like Perez are very skillful at creatively ignoring the law to suit their own ends,” Adams told the Washington Free Beacon in March.

    Perez’s record on the case has inspired opposition from other Republican senators. Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) pledged to block the nomination when it was announced.

    “Thomas Perez’s record should be met with great suspicion by my colleagues for his spotty work related to the New Black Panther case, but Louisianians most certainly should have cause for concern about this nomination,” Vitter said.

    Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Perez headed CASA de Maryland, an immigration group that helps legal and illegal immigrants find jobs, before becoming the Maryland secretary of labor.

    He served as a vital union ally in the latter post, according to multiple union leaders who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon.

    “He performed great as secretary of labor for the state of Maryland,” said Maryland-D.C. AFL-CIO president Fred Mason. “The sense of fairness that exists in most people is what Perez epitomizes … he has consistently demonstrated that.”

    Perez helped pass bills at the state and local level that give unions an advantage in contract bidding by driving up costs for competitors, which in turn drives up the cost for taxpayers. Obama has made wage issues a centerpiece of his second term, stepping up regulations on wages for government contractors and pushing for a 24 percent minimum wage hike.

    Some of the nation’s leading labor attorneys have expressed trepidation about Perez’s nomination, citing his expected support for proposed regulations, which could make it harder for employers to seek outside help to persuade workers to maintain a union-free workplace.

    “Mr. Perez can be expected to support organized labor on new labor persuader regulations … expected any day now and keep the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division pushing that office forward,” one attorney told the Free Beacon on condition of anonymity. “I would not see any nominee from President Obama having a different view.”

    Perez’s nomination is expected to reach the Senate floor next week should he make it through committee.

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