President Barack Obama is close to choosing a top Justice Department official as his new labor secretary, but the possible nomination is already drawing fire from a key Republican senator.
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is raising questions about Thomas Perez, currently assistant U.S. attorney general, over his role in settling a housing discrimination case in St. Paul, Minn., according to a report by Bloomberg.
“If Mr. Perez is nominated he should face a lot of tough questions about this quid pro quo deal he appears to have put together,” Grassley said in a statement last week. “I shudder to think how whistle-blowers will be treated in the Labor Department if this quid pro quo with St. Paul is any indication of Mr. Perez’s approach to this important area of law.”
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The Justice Department declined to join whistle-blower lawsuits against the city in exchange for St. Paul dropping a Supreme Court appeal. The move cost the United States about $180 million in settlement money, according to Grassley.
Perez would replace outgoing Labor Secretary Hilda Solis if nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
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