July 16th, 2014
04:01 PM ET
1 month ago

GOP releases audio, says it shows Obama Cabinet member broke law

Washington (CNN) – Ramping up his investigation of the White House and whether it illegally used government staff for political purposes, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa released audio of a 2012 voicemail message that his office says depicts then-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking an employee working for her to contribute money and recruit others to attend a fundraiser for the pro-Obama Organizing For America.

In a release, the committee called the phone message a clear violation of the Hatch Act, which limits political activity for government officials.

“I’m not in a position to comment on that audio recording,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters when asked about it. “It relates to an ongoing law enforcement investigation.”
Solis, who won election to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors in June, did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

In the voice message, a woman identifies herself as Hilda Solis and then says, “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 on Friday. … 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.”

A Republican source told CNN the message was left on March 20, 2012, and that the Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act, received a complaint just under a month later.

According to a letter from the OSC to Solis that was obtained by CNN from the same Republican source, it opened an investigation of the matter but ended it without drawing any final conclusions in January 2013 because Solis left her Cabinet position.

“In conformance with OSC’s policy not to continue investigations once an employee leaves federal service, OSC will close its investigation of this matter,” the letter reads.

The White House did not indicate which branch of government was still investigating the matter, but the Los Angeles Times reported in May that the FBI had questioned Solis and a few of her associates and that at least one witness had also testified before a grand jury.

Issa, a California Republican, had subpoenaed White House political director David Simas to testify at a Wednesday hearing. Simas did not attend after the White House balked at the request, arguing that separation of powers between the branches means that he cannot be compelled to testify.
The White House insists it has not done anything inappropriate.

Rep. Ellijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight panel, has said Issa has abused his power in his investigation, repeatedly issuing subpoenas without consulting the full committee.


Filed under: Darrell Issa • Obama administration
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Democrat Party: Organzied Crime Syndicate

    Yup, caught red handed. Democrats have been doing this kind of stuff for years. It is why the jails are full of Democrats and why Democrats are soft on crime. They don't like coming down hard on their fellow criminals.

    July 16, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Bill from GA

    “In conformance with OSC’s policy not to continue investigations once an employee leaves federal service, OSC will close its investigation of this matter,”

    The House of Representatives had that same policy when Rep. Nathan Deal, now governor of Georgia, resigned his seat effective the day the Ethics investigation was to announce its findings of Deal's actions. The investigation was closed, with no public report made. Maybe Issa could have that investigation reopened.

    Deal, true to form, has had ongoing investigations into his campaign corrupt in Georgia ever since. Most of them have been 'swept under the rug'. Headlines constantly on his possible or alleged corruption.

    July 16, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. freedom

    Keep at it Issa – this is the most corrupt presidency in history. Obama makes Nixon look like a schoolboy cheating – and he was impeached!

    July 16, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    To a GOBagger, there is nothing wrong with conducting an evidence free trial on Fox Taliban News. Bergdahl was convicted by the brain dead without any facts.

    Issa has released classified documents to his friends at a Fox, and is fulfilling his promise of conducting thousands of witch hunts. Most Americans are waking up to and rejecting the low lifes that have run and ruined the Republican Party.

    July 16, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    freedom

    Keep at it Issa – this is the most corrupt presidency in history. Obama makes Nixon look like a schoolboy cheating – and he was impeached!
    ------------------------
    Keep at it, at what? What is in these letters, releases, or whatevers to investigate? The alleged accused left their post 18 months ago. You cannot discipline someone who no longer works for you.

    "The White House did not indicate which branch of government was still investigating the matter, ...."

    They didn't need to say which. Isn't obvious that the legislative branch, The House, is investigating it.

    July 16, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Lisa P

    freedom

    Keep at it Issa – this is the most corrupt presidency in history. Obama makes Nixon look like a schoolboy cheating – and he was impeached!
    July 16, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm
    --------------------------------–

    Ha! Clearly you haven't heard about Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker and the secret e-mail router he had installed in his office back when he was Milwaukee County Executive so his taxpayer-paid county staff could campaign freely during work hours without their communications showing up in a FOIA request. It's corruption for a modern age - Nixon and his dirty tricks eavesdropping was a piker by comparison.

    July 16, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @Bill from GA
    “In conformance with OSC’s policy not to continue investigations once an employee leaves federal service, OSC will close its investigation of this matter,”

    The House of Representatives had that same policy when Rep. Nathan Deal, now governor of Georgia, resigned his seat effective the day the Ethics investigation was to announce its findings of Deal's actions. The investigation was closed, with no public report made. Maybe Issa could have that investigation reopened.

    Deal, true to form, has had ongoing investigations into his campaign corrupt in Georgia ever since. Most of them have been 'swept under the rug'. Headlines constantly on his possible or alleged corruption.
    ------------
    Issa is only interested in the partisan persecution quest he has been given. Did you see the latest Benghazi testimony totally undermining the conspiracy theory that a stand-down order was given? Will Issa stop with no evidence? No way – it is Ken Starr all over again. And it will come to nothing as well. At tax-payer cost.

    July 16, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Bill from GA

    Chris..E.al – " It seems to me the leftist have thinned on this site and the one.s that remain seem kinder and gentler than in the past .

    While I'm not leftist enough to be in 'the gang' ( you have to agree with them at least 99% ), I am not kinder and gentler. I just can't get my best stuff past the censors at CNN.
    -----------------------------
    Oh, that's easy. Just be "yourself." Becoming "Bill from GA" is all that you have to do. That's it.

    July 16, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    Easy Obama Haters. And don't forget to wipe the drool from your keyboards.

    July 16, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Oh please this is minus zero (-0) compared to the diaper boy, boy toy in Italy, trolling men in airport bathrooms, paying off his mistress' parents.
    The car thief needs to go. He's a big ego ugly inside out bully.

    July 16, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Lac

    I consistently get calls from the likes of Cruz asking for support and money to do away with 'Obama Care' and the President himself........how is this different?

    July 16, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Democrat Party: Organized Crime Syndicate

    Rudy NYC
    Keep at it, at what? What is in these letters, releases, or whatevers to investigate? The alleged accused left their post 18 months ago. You cannot discipline someone who no longer works for you.
    --

    A criminal offense was committed. Whether they still work there or not is totally irrelevant. They should be investigated and prosecuted and jailed if guilty.

    July 16, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. O'drama ya Mama

    Here come all the Republican angles who are under the impression that Democrats are the only ones who break laws

    July 16, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Democrat Party: Organized Crime Syndicate
    Rudy NYC
    Keep at it, at what? What is in these letters, releases, or whatevers to investigate? The alleged accused left their post 18 months ago. You cannot discipline someone who no longer works for you.
    -
    A criminal offense was committed. Whether they still work there or not is totally irrelevant. They should be investigated and prosecuted and jailed if guilty.
    --------–
    That's right! Issa should handle it as vigorously as he handled the war crime trial of Bush and Cheney.
    The country is in need of bipartisan compromise and work effort and all the GOP can do is witch-hunt and puff up the few actual crimes it finds in its selective search.

    July 16, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Tampa Tim

    Organized – There you go again, convicting people without any evidence. That is so republican of you.

    July 16, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. John

    Note she didn't tell people to support this cause....she "asked" them if they would want to support this cause, a question, not a statement, therefore not violating any federal law.....this of course is assuming it was solis on voice recording, which everyone knows is not permissable in law to use a voice recording without the person's consent.

    July 16, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @Democrat Party: Organized Crime Syndicate: "A criminal offense was committed. Whether they still work there or not is totally irrelevant. They should be investigated and prosecuted and jailed if guilty."

    You do realize, don't you, that in the same post you say "a criminal offense was committed" and "if guilty" ?

    This is the problem with you teatards: you don't notice your own disconnect from reality – even when YOU TYPE IT.

    July 16, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. don in albuquerque

    Gee, got to wonder if the next "white" president will get this kind of in depth investigating? Of course he will if he is a democrat. If he is a GOTP'er we will be told to get over it. Just as W committing numerous crimes and the Repubs are not interested at all.

    July 16, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Pander Bear

    Oh sweet Jaysus. Like anyone believes Darrel Issa's witch hunt's any more? The man stated that he was out to get Obama and thus far has tried everything (including lying) to fulfill his promise. He's a complete tool.

    July 16, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Tim

    Poor little Obama always getting picked on by the big bad republicans.

    July 16, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Karl Rove,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that!

    July 16, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |