“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 [re-election] campaign”
As Director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, David Simas, in defiance of a congressional subpoena, failed to appear today to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on taxpayer-funded political campaign activity by government officials, the Committee released an audio recording of then-United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis illegally soliciting funds for President Obama’s re-election campaign in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activity on official time.
In his opening statement, Chairman Issa played a recording of a message left on the phone of a Labor Department subordinate pressuring the employee to contribute to President Obama’s re-election campaign. The recording subsequently became the subject of a complaint made to the Office of Special Counsel. Then-Labor Secretary Solis says:
“Hi—this is Hilda Solis calling, um, just calling you off-the-record here—Wanted to ask you if you could, um, help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we’re doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign on Friday at La Fonda at 6 p.m. Steven Smith, an attorney, and his staff are helping us [inaudible]. 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. I would encourage you to call this number, [inaudible]–that’s his assistant– at [phone number] and you can call [the attorney] yourself who’s a good friend, an attorney, good friend of mine, at [phone number]. And it’s for a Friday event at La Fonda [inaudible] we’re just trying to raise money to show that we have support here in [inaudible].”
Well played Chairman Issa, well played.
In related news: White House defying aide’s [David Simas] congressional subpoena
Simas’ profile per the White House:
David M. Simas currently serves as Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy & Outreach. Prior to joining the White House, Mr. Simas was the Director of Opinion Research for the Obama for America Presidential re-election campaign. He served as a Deputy Assistant to the President for Special Projects from 2010 through 2011 and as a Special Assistant to the President and aide to Senior Advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod from 2009 through 2010. Simas previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and as a policy adviser to the Mayor of Taunton, MA. [...]