December 19, 2016

Tom Perez’s DNC Campaign Presents Hatch Act Problems

Secretary Tom Perez jumped into the already chaotic DNC race last week. Yet by not resigning from his cabinet post, Perez has set himself up for some potential conflicts-of-interest in the month before the Obama Administration leaves office. Perez is no stranger to Hatch Act violations, having been a major supporter of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, while a government employee.

Now as The Hill reports, the Hatch Act will put limits on who Perez can accept campaign contributions from:

“A spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that oversees the Hatch Act’s enforcement, said Perez is still covered by other restrictions in place under the law. The most prominent of those restrictions could stand between Perez and groups that might otherwise become his biggest donors. The act allows Perez to raise money for his campaign to become chairman, the Labor Department’s Henry said. But at the same time, the act forbids a federal employee from raising money from individuals or groups who are either under investigation by or who have an application before the employee’s office.”

Specifically, as Labor Secretary, if Perez accepts campaign donations from labor unions, it will be a present a major conflict-of-interest:

“That means Perez will have a difficult time accepting money from labor unions. Perez’s campaign will have to be certain that any unions from which he fundraises have no pending business or open investigations with the Labor Department.”

Perez showed during the presidential campaign that he’ll play fast and loose with the Hatch Act. In fact, FACT, a nonpartisan watchdog group, warned Perez and his fellow Cabinet secretaries about the Hatch Act, and Perez still violated it. If he wants to continue to run for DNC chairman, he should listen to the Wall Street Journal, and immediately resign from the Labor Department.