As Senior White House Advisor Defies Congressional Subpoena, Committee Releases Audio Recording of Cabinet Secretary Making Illegal Campaign Solicitation

July 16, 2014

Then Labor Secretary: “Off-the-record here—Wanted to ask you if you could help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we’re doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign”

As Director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, David Simas, in defiance of a congressional subpoena, failed to appear today to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on taxpayer-funded political campaign activity by government officials, the Committee released an audio recording of then-United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis illegally soliciting funds for President Obama’s re-election campaign in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activity on official time.

In his opening statement, Chairman Issa played a recording of a message left on the phone of a Labor Department subordinate pressuring the employee to contribute to President Obama’s re-election campaign. The recording subsequently became the subject of a complaint made to the Office of Special Counsel. Then-Labor Secretary Solis says:

“Hi—this is Hilda Solis calling, um, just calling you off-the-record here—Wanted to ask you if you could, um, help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we’re doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign on Friday at La Fonda at 6 p.m. Steven Smith, an attorney, and his staff are helping us [inaudible]. There are a lot of folks that we know that are coming but wanted to ask you if you might help contribute or get other folks to help out. I would encourage you to call this number, [inaudible]–that’s his assistant– at [phone number] and you can call [the attorney] yourself who’s a good friend, an attorney, good friend of mine, at [phone number]. And it’s for a Friday event at La Fonda [inaudible] we’re just trying to raise money to show that we have support here in [inaudible].”

Following opening statements, Chairman Issa recessed the proceeding for the Committee to assess its course of action in regard to Mr. Simas’ refusal to appear and the White House’s latest attack on our Constitution’s system of checks and balances.

To listen to the audio recording, click here.

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