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The Right Wing’s Next Target: Hilda Solis?

By Pat Garofalo on February 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm

"The Right Wing’s Next Target: Hilda Solis?"

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ap081219029006.jpgYesterday, President Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Daschle, withdrew after it was revealed he failed to pay over $100,000 in taxes. In the wake of Daschle’s departure, the right-wing is gunning for another Cabinet victim — Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), the nominee for Labor Secretary. The Heritage Foundation writes, “Hilda Solis: The Next Tom Daschle?” Some more examples:

National Review: While everyone is looking at Tom Daschle’s tax problems…a new issue has arisen concerning another Obama cabinet nomination, that of Rep. Hilda Solis to be Secretary of Labor.

The Weekly Standard: A seemingly innocuous letter sent to the Clerk of the House of Representatives last Thursday by President Obama’s Secretary of Labor nominee Hilda Solis raises serious and troubling legal questions about her nomination and apparent violation of House ethics rules.

RedState: [I]f we are lucky we may just see the appointment of this hardcore union shill go down in flames.

According to The Hill, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) “has questioned whether Solis had done lobbying work while she was both a House member and an official at a pro-labor group, American Rights at Work” (ARW). Solis’ confirmation has been indefinitely delayed, and today Obama nominated Ed Hugler, deputy assistant secretary for operations at the Labor Department, to serve as acting secretary.

As The Wonk Room noted last week, even before these lobbying charges were raised against Solis, Senate Republicans were “burying her in paperwork.” Their real gripe appears to be her support for the Employee Free Choice Act; the New York Times called the delay in her confirmation “a way for Republican senators to score tough-guy points with business constituents who are driven to distraction by the thought of unions.”

And as for the “conflict of interest” that the right wing is highlighting? Solis wasn’t paid for her activities with ARW, and as the Washington Independent pointed out, her role was well-known and ceremonial:

What would be the charge? Either that she participated in lobbying by being a leader with ARW, or that she erred by originally not mentioning this job in her disclosure documents. Two reasons this might not work: Solis’ role in ARW was well-known and ceremonial (it’s on their Website), and no congressman has hinted that he/she would file a complaint that could make a splash but not be deemed frivolous and politically motivated.

Greg Sargent reported recently, “Some top operatives in the labor movement are frustrated with the Obama administration for not giving them the go-ahead to publicly target Republicans who appear to be stalling Solis’ confirmation.” “The anonymous hold on Solis is a clear proxy fight for Employee Free Choice,” said a top operative at a prominent union. “And from the Obama Adminisitration … crickets.”

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