Perez’s Problems
President Obama’s likely secretary-of-labor appointee has a dishonest and radically liberal record.

Thomas Perez


John Fund

There are, further, important questions about just how competent Perez has been in running the Civil Rights Division, though that’s beyond the scope of the IG’s report. As Quin Hillyer has documented in The American Spectator, Holder’s office has been repeatedly smacked down by courts all over the country. Last year, a three-judge federal panel in Washington, D.C., ruled against Perez’s challenge to South Carolina’s voter-ID law. As Hillyer recounts, Perez’s positions “have been rebuked by courts in Arkansas (about the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act), in New York on an education case, in a Florida abortion case where Perez’s team was abusively prosecuting peaceful protestors, and most particularly in a major Perez loss in Florida when trying to force the state not to remove non-citizens from its voter rolls.”

That last Perez position, regarding Florida’s investigation of its voter rolls, is a particular hobby-horse for him. In our book Who’s Counting, Hans von Spakovsky and I point out that Perez has a history of lawless positions on immigration issues:


Perez was president of Casa de Maryland, an extreme advocacy organization that opposes the enforcement of our immigration laws. This group has encouraged illegal aliens not to speak with police officers or immigration agents; it has fought restrictions on illegal aliens’ receiving driver’s licenses; it has urged the Montgomery County Police Department not to enforce federal fugitive warrants; it has advocated giving illegal aliens in-state tuition; and it has actively promulgated “day labor” sites, where illegal aliens and disreputable employers openly skirt federal prohibitions on hiring undocumented individuals.

It is stunning that someone affiliated with an outfit that displays such contempt for federal law would even be nominated, let alone confirmed, as the nation’s top civil-rights law-enforcement officer. But Perez has gone farther.

As a councilman in Maryland in 2003, Perez sought to force local governments to accept matricula consular ID cards, which are issued by the Mexican and Guatemalan governments, as a valid form of identification. He insisted that individuals with such cards not have to show any U.S.-issued documents to prove their identities, even though matricula ID cards are known to be rife with fraud. No major bank in Mexico accepts them if someone tries to open an account.

If nominated as labor secretary, Perez would be in a position to hamstring the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws as regards the labor force; his clear dishonesty in public testimony on the New Black Panther case would render his testimony in any confirmation hearing potentially questionable; and his abysmal record of legal performance at Justice marks him as someone who is a radical ideologue first and a careful lawyer second.

In short, a Perez nomination should be fought by Senate Republicans with every weapon at their disposal, including a filibuster. This time, they’ll have a scathing report from President Obama’s own inspector general to make much of their case.

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.