U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio came out swinging recently against the nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor — and rightly so.
“After carefully reviewing Thomas Perez’s, record, views and conduct during his confirmation process, it is clear to me he should not be confirmed to be America’s next Secretary of Labor,” Rubio stated. “For a Cabinet position that oversees the country’s workforce, our nation deserves a proven administrator who is committed to maximizing opportunities for the American worker, not a liberal activist who has pushed the boundaries of public office to advance his agenda.”
Rubio added he would “strongly oppose” Perez’s nomination, although he stopped short of promising a filibuster against Obama’s radical labor nominee.
The son of Dominican immigrants, Perez is a lifelong liberal bureaucrat who has spent his entire career pushing a radical leftist agenda — first in the Clinton administration, then in Maryland state and local government and most recently in the administration of Barack Obama.
But it’s not just Perez’s far left ideology that’s raising red flags. In pursuing his agenda, Perez has made it clear on multiple occasions he does not believe the rule of law applies to him. From 1995-2000, for example, he served on the board of CASA de Maryland — an organization which has not only championed non-enforcement of immigration law but actually published pamphlets instructing people on how to shield illegal immigrants from government raids.
Later, as a local elected official in Maryland, Perez attempted to import Canadian drugs into his county in direct violation of federal law.
“Sometimes you have to push the envelope,” he once said in response to criticism of his extralegal views.
Perez has certainly been doing plenty of “envelope pushing” in the Obama administration. He’s also been doing plenty of lying in an effort to cover it up.
Three years ago Perez testified under oath before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding an infamous 2008 voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party. During his testimony, Perez stated that no political leadership at the U.S. Justice Department was involved in the decision to dismiss several defendants in that high profile case. This testimony turned out to be patently false — with the Justice Department’s own inspector general later noting Perez’s testimony “did not reflect the entire story regarding the involvement of political appointees.”
Talk about an understatement. In fact the report concluded Perez not only knew about the political involvement of Obama’s appointees in the New Black Panther Party case (and expected it to come up during questioning) — but that he also sought to shield his Justice Department superiors from the fallout, presumably by playing dumb.
How is this not perjury — or for that matter obstruction of justice? And while the IG’s report generously concludes that Perez’s testimony “did not capture the full extent” of the truth regarding this case — it’s painfully obvious to anyone with open eyes that he lied to protect himself and his bosses.
“When the Justice Department had clear evidence of voter intimidation, Attorney General Eric Holder and his deputy, Thomas Perez, looked the other way,” said Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a leading black conservative who is opposing Perez’s nomination. “They said they were not involved, but the investigation shows that both were involved and pointedly chose not to fully prosecute cases that did not fall into their politically correct interpretation of the law.”
LeBon added that Perez’s division was more interested in “impeding the implementation of legitimate voter ID legislation in South Carolina and Texas instead of adequately combating blatant forms of harassment.”
The New Black Panther Party case wasn’t an isolated instance of selective enforcement, either.
“Career employees in the voting section (Perez’s division) contributed significantly to the atmosphere of polarization and distrust by harassing other career employees due at least in part to their political ideology or for positions taken on particular cases,” the IG report also noted.
Specifically, Perez’s division recoiled when certain attorneys “decided to pursue particular cases or investigations on behalf of white victims.” This, according to the report, led to a later decision by Perez to “focus on ‘traditional’ civil rights cases on behalf of racial or ethnic minorities who have been the historical victims of discrimination.”
That is an astounding indictment of Perez’s leadership, and one reason why this report prompted U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) to refer to Perez’s civil rights division as a “rat’s nest of unprofessional and unacceptable actions.”
Is this the kind of person we want to lord over the American workforce? Of course not — Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, not selective enforcement based on race or ideology.
Accordingly Senator Rubio must do more than “strongly oppose” the nomination of Thomas Perez. He must block it using every power at his disposal including leading a filisbuster if necessary.
Part of America’s greatness is defined by the concept that we are a nation of laws, not men. That’s why there simply is no room at the highest levels of government for anyone who puts his own extreme ideological agenda ahead of the nation’s laws, and that’s why Thomas Perez cannot be confirmed by the Senate as our nation’s next Secretary of Labor.
Bill Wilson is a member of the board of directors of Americans for Limited Government.