On April 24, Senate Democrats delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez. Committee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa was concerned that Republicans would use a threatened separate hearing as a forum to attack Perez in his absence. Read more.
Senate Republicans have criticized Perez for his involvement in a deal with the city of St. Paul, MN that left a whistleblower with nothing. Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in coordination with Issa and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, released a joint staff report about how Perez orchestrated a controversial quid pro quo with the city that prevented the Justice Department from recovering hundreds of millions of dollars back to the taxpayers, and left a whistleblower who filed the suit out in the cold.
Here is an excerpt from the joint staff report.
"In early February 2012, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez made a secret deal behind closed doors with St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Christopher Coleman and St. Paul’s outside counsel, David Lillehaug. Perez agreed to commit the Department of Justice to declining intervention in a False Claims Act qui tam complaint filed by whistleblower Fredrick Newell against the City of St. Paul, as well as a second qui tam complaint pending against the City, in exchange for the City’s commitment to withdraw its appeal in Magner v. Gallagher from the Supreme Court, an appeal involving the validity of disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act."
According to the joint staff report, this deal cost the U.S. Government the opportunity to recover as much as $200 million.
The Department of Labor’s OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. Rights afforded by these whistleblower acts include, but are not limited to, worker participation in safety and health activities, reporting a work related injury, illness or fatality, or reporting a violation of the statutes.
Read the full joint staff report here.