LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The chairman of a Congressional watchdog panel Wednesday played an audiotape during a hearing in Washington, D.C., as alleged evidence of former U.S. Labor Secretary and Southland lawmaker Hilda Solis illegally soliciting money for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from Vista in San Diego County, played the tape during his opening statement of the hearing on political campaign activity by government officials, saying it constitutes a violation of the Hatch Act, which bars Cabinet members from directly raising campaign funds and prohibits political activity on official time.
According to Issa, who serves as the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the audio recording is a voicemail message from Solis left on the phone of a Labor Department subordinate “pressuring” the employee to contribute to an Obama fundraiser at the La Fonda supper club in Los Angeles.
“Off-the-record here, wanted to ask you if you could help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we’re doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign,” a woman claiming to be Hilda Solis is heard saying. “There are a lot of folks that we know that are coming but wanted to ask you if you might help contribute or get other folks to help out.”
Solis did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but she has previously denied any wrongdoing in connection with the La Fonda fundraiser, which was the subject of an FBI inquiry.
A spokesman told The Los Angeles Times in February it would be “inappropriate” for Solis to say whether she informed Obama about the federal investigation.
Solis stepped down as Labor Secretary in January 2013. She was elected last month to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, although she has not yet taken office.
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