Former Labor Secretary stonewalls about possible Obama talks regarding FBI inquiry

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Former Obama administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is stonewalling about possible communications with President Barack Obama regarding an FBI inquiry into her involvement in an Obama re-election fundraiser.

Solis’ 2014 campaign for L.A. County Supervisor did not respond to Daily Caller inquiries into whether or not she discussed the FBI investigation with the president prior to her resignation from the administration.

Solis came under the FBI’s radar after she was the star guest at an Obama re-election fundraiser at the La Fonda Supper Club on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles intended to raise money from the Latino community. Solis has said she was aware that the Hatch Act prohibits Cabinet members from directly fundraising for political campaigns. But the FBI contacted California state senator Kevin de Leon in 2013 regarding Solis’ participation in the event.

A Solis campaign adviser previously acknowledged that Solis met with the FBI in November 2012, two months before she stepped down as Labor Secretary in January 2013, but maintained that “it is inappropriate for a Cabinet official to [discuss] private communications with the President.”

By the time Solis left the Obama administration, she owed the Washington office of the Chicago-based law firm Sidley Austin between $50,001 and $100,000 for “legal advice” pertaining to the FBI inquiry, according to a Feb. 2013 financial disclosure.

Sidley Austin lawyer Michelle Obama met Sidley summer associate Barack Obama at the Chicago firm in 1988. By May 2012, seven then-current or past Sidley attorneys had received Obama appointments. Sidley gained nearly $12 million in federal contracts between 2009 and May 2012, up from $1.4 million in the second term of the Bush administration.

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 recent lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against union leaders.

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Patrick Howley