“This is a simple matter of how the Ethics Committee
interprets its own rules. If it's okay for Representative
Solis to behave in this manner, then it's okay for all
Representatives to do likewise and serve as active board
members for 501(c)(4) organizations.”—ALG President Bill Wilson
ALG President Alerts House Ethics Committee to Apparent Ethics Violations by Representative Hilda Solis
February 20th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee that raised questions as to whether President Barack Obama's choice for Labor Secretary, Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA), violated House Ethics Rules as a House member when she “engaged in lobbying activity targeted at Members of the House.”
“There are serious questions concerning the interpretation of House Ethics Rules raised by Representative Solis' activities,” said Wilson in a statement.
According to the letter to the House Ethics Committee, Congresswoman Hilda Solis served as Treasurer of the 501(c)(4) organization, Americans Rights at Work (ARG), while the organization was actively engaged in lobbying members of Congress, most recently to vote in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act.
The letter also notes that Representative Solis failed to properly disclose this information on financial disclosure forms from 2004 to 2007 to the Clerk of the House of Representatives as she is required to do.
The letter states, “Filing a false disclosure report is a very serious matter and can result in criminal penalties pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001. Filing a false report also deprives the public of information that would enable inspection of whether a Member's official actions are conflicted with their private activities.”
While Wilson believes his interpretation of House Ethics rules is correct, he is seeking guidance of the committee because, according to the letter, “If our reading of House Rules and Ethical Standards are incorrect, it is our intent to begin working with a number of Members of the House in a manner similar to that of Representative Solis.”
In his statement, Wilson said, “This is a simple matter of how the Ethics Committee interprets its own rules. If it's okay for Representative Solis to behave in this manner, then it's okay for all Representatives to do likewise and serve as active board members for 501(c)(4) organizations.”
“But, if we are correct in our interpretation, and Representative Solis indeed violated House Ethics Rules, then the committee is duty-bound to follow up,” Wilson added.
Wilson warned the committee that there would be consequences if it knowingly failed to act upon an ethics violation.
“I trust the House Ethics Committee will set aside partisan politics and take its duties as seriously as it pretends to when members of the opposing party appear to have committed violations,” Wilson concluded.