Congressional Republicans have been investigating an assistant AG for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and President Obama’s choice to replace Hilda Solis as secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, for his involvement in the settlement of some civil rights cases against the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. Had the issue proceeded to the U.S. Supreme Court, the outcome threatened to undermine his discrimination enforcement theories — and a new joint report from the Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary, and House Oversight committees points to a “quid pro quo” deal orchestrated by Perez that might have cost taxpayers as much as $200 million. Read on for the details:
The report, obtained in advance by Fox News, claimed Perez in February 2012 “manipulated” federal law as assistant attorney general and “pushed the limits of justice to make this deal happen.”
Both cases involved the city of St. Paul. The 67-page report states that the Justice Department’s decision to opt out of the whistleblower cases potentially cost taxpayers as much as $200 million — the amount the government could have won had it pursued damages in the case.
But, according to the report, the Justice Department stayed away from that case in order to get the city to drop an appeal to the Supreme Court on another matter. The department was allegedly concerned that the high court, in the course of reviewing that case, would strike down a major element of civil rights enforcement.
“Perez simply could not allow the Court to rule,” the report said. “Perez sought leverage to stop the city from pressing its appeal.” …
The Department of Justice maintains that “The litigation decisions made by the department were in the best interests of the United States and were consistent with the department’s legal, ethical, and professional responsibility obligations,” and Democrats are predictably accusing the Republicans of instigating a “political campaign to undermine the legal safeguards against discrimination that Mr. Perez was protecting,” but as House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa explained on Fox News earlier, why exactly wouldn’t you want the U.S. Supreme Court to make a decision on a civil-rights claim? Vid from the WFB:
Perez’s confirmation hearing starts on Thursday — I’d guess that somebody’s in for some pretty serious grilling.