Former Obama administration Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis took thousands of dollars of free trips on a union’s jet to “avoid freeway traffic” and did not report the trips as required by federal law, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against union leaders.
Solis traveled on a private jet owned by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 12 in a series of pricey trips that she did not report to the Federal Election Commission, according to a report on the lawsuit by Hews Media Group. The trips occurred in 2009, and some were intended to fly her to Washington, D.C. when she was being considered for the Obama cabinet post.
IUOE leader William Waggoner flew Solis between nearby commuter airports in El Monte, Calif. and Ontario, Calif., as well as Washington, D.C., so Solis “could avoid freeway traffic,” a source told Hews Media Group. Solis and Pasadena-based IUOE Local 12 had political ties dating back to Solis’ career in Congress, according to the report. Solis was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Here’s the Cessna Citation XL jet that Solis enjoyed, courtesy of Los Cerritos Community News:
Solis used the jet to get back and forth to the nation’s capital during her active consideration and confirmation process. “Waggoner bragged openly that he was flying Solis back to Washington D.C. for this purpose,” according to the lawsuit.
While Solis, who left the Department of Labor in 2013 and is now running for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, had a cozy relationship with the union that had the jet, she had a much frostier relationship with her own employees union within the department.
The Daily Caller reported late last week that the Department of Labor under both Solis and her successor, Thomas Perez, engaged in racial discrmination and discrimination against workers with disabilities and longtime non-college educated employees, according to an internal assessment prepared by American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 12, which represents low-ranking Department of Labor staffers. Solis hated AFGE Local 12 during her time at the Labor Department, insiders said.