Former labor secretary illegally solicited funds for Obama campaign

Hilda Solis, the former Secretary of Labor, hit up a Department of Labor employee for a contribution to the Obama reelection campaign. Solis’ fundraising activity, which violates the Hatch Act, has been captured in a voice mail message released today by Rep. Darrell Issa.

Here is the text of Solis’ message:

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].

The House Oversight Committee, which Issa chairs, is investigating political activity by members of the Obama administration. David Simas, Director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, refused to comply with a congressional subpoena to appear before the committee to discuss the matter. The White House invoked “executive privilege,” a questionable assertion particularly in light of Committee on the Judiciary v. Miers, a case brought by congressional Democrats against White House Counsel Harriet Miers.

Solis, who has been caught red-handed, may have to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

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