The Department of Labor coordinated with the White House on whether or not to release hidden portions of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ schedule as Solis battled an FBI investigation into her illegal fundraising for President Obama.
New emails provided to The Daily Caller from the nonprofit legal research firm Cause of Action show the White House thanking the Department of Labor for “flagging” a public information request for “withheld” portions of Solis’ schedule. (SEE THE EMAIL CHAIN). The White House then asked for the name of the conservative group making the request — information that Labor officials were eager to give up.
As TheDC previously reported, Solis illegally fundraised for the Obama campaign and headlined a Latino-themed Obama fundraiser while on a trip in her official capacity as a Cabinet member, which is forbidden by the Hatch Act. (AUDIO: SOLIS LEAVING A PHONE MESSAGE ILLEGALLY FUNDRAISING FOR OBAMA)
A quiet, behind-the-scenes FBI investigation into Solis’ Hatch Act violation led to her resignation from the Obama administration at the beginning of his second term – and handed Solis a hefty check for legal advice from the Washington arm of the politically-connected Chicago law firm Sidley Austin. (The Daily Caller, meanwhile, is permanently banned from talking to employees at the Department of Labor — which oddly hasn’t stopped us.)
But Solis’ department continued coordinating with the White House on requests for Solis’ records.
“This was a generic request for calendar,” Secretary of Labor official Deborah Greenfield wrote to Associate White House Counsel Kathleen Hartnett on April 8, 2013. “This is the issue. We withheld this entry, and it is now on appeal. Any issues with disclosing?”
Harnett, Harvard Law School ’00, is an Obama pick who distinguished herself early in the administration for helping the president pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. But she needed help with this one. In comes General Counsel at the White House Lamar Baker (Yale Law School ’01).
“Got it, thanks,” Baker said.
“The entry is from April 7, 2009, and reads as followed: Lunch – Cecilia Munoz [Secys Dining room],” Greenfield explained. Cecilia Munoz, a top White House domestic policy adviser, was formerly a vice president at the Hispanic activist group the National Council of La Raza.
“Great, thanks,” Baker shot back. “One other quick question: on the [Freedom of Information Act] matter you mentioned yesterday, what was the date of the meeting?”
“Here you go,” Greenfield replied followed by a few emails back and forth of completely redacted information.
“Hi – no comments or concerns here regarding the planned release of the 4/7/09 “Lunch – Cecilia Munoz (Secys Dining Room) entry,” Baker finally decided. “Thanks for flagging, and please keep me posted if there is any follow up.”
Then some more redacted stuff. Then General Counsel at the White House Lamar Baker finds out which group was responsible for this pesky public information request.
“Sorry just one more follow up I should have asked in my earlier email: can you send me who the requester was?,” Baker asked Greenfield.
“Americans For Limited Government,” Greenfield replied.