Will Senate Republicans turn a blind eye to Tom Perez’s dishonesty?

Tom Perez is President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Labor. There are many reasons why he should not be confirmed. I discussed some of them here and here.

My complaints about Perez pre-date his most recent nomination. In a 2009 Washington Times op-ed, I objected to his nomination to head Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights.

It is not easy to block a cabinet nominee on policy grounds, nor should it be. But in Perez’s case, his dishonesty alone would be sufficient reason for a filibuster. That dishonesty involves two important matters.

First, Perez gave false testimony to the Civil Rights Commission about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. Under oath, Perez said that no “political leadership” at DOJ was involved in the decision not to pursue that matter. But a federal district court judge (Reggie Walton) found that internal Justice Department documents “contradict” this testimony.

Second, it is now clear that Perez made false statements to investigators who looked into a deal he orchestrated with the City of St. Paul. Under Perez’s deal, the DOJ caused the dismissal of a suit against the City of St. Paul, one that could have netted $180 million to U.S. taxpayers, in exchange for the City’s agreement to drop a Supreme Court appeal (in the case of Magner v. Gallaher), the outcome of which might have invalidated DOJ’s pet method of proving racial discrimination in housing cases.

The Wall Street Journal describes Perez’s dishonesty over this quid pro quo arrangement:

Mr. Perez told investigators he hadn’t heard of the Magner case until the Supreme Court agreed to hear it on November 7, 2011. But HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Sara Pratt told investigators that she and Mr. Perez had a discussion about the case well before that.

Mr. Perez also says he didn’t propose the quid pro quo. But St. Paul’s lawyer, David Lillehaug, testified that Mr. Perez first called him on November 23, 2011 to discuss Magner and on November 29 met him to propose a “potential solution”: the quid pro quo. It defies logic to believe St. Paul wanted to drop a case it had been fighting for nearly a decade and after the High Court had finally agreed to hear it.

Perez has worked in additional ways to cover-up his involvement in the quid pro quo.

On January 10, 2012, Mr. Perez left a voicemail for Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker, instructing him not to link Magner and Newell in the memo explaining why Justice wouldn’t intervene in Newell.

Mr. Perez also told investigators he didn’t have “any recollection” of using his personal email to correspond about the quid pro quo. . .Congressional investigators later discovered a personal email Mr. Perez sent to St. Paul’s lawyer, Mr. Lillehaug, on December 10, 2011. They have subpoenaed Mr. Perez for his Verizon email account, but Mr. Perez has not complied with the subpoena.

Will Senate Republicans give a pass to the dishonest Mr. Perez? I expect that they will, for reasons that will be the subject of another post.


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