Solis had a rough hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee when she declined to answer all sorts of seemingly noncontroversial questions about her positions on basic labor issues. (Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote a frustrated account of the hearing, asking, "How can senators consent if they have no clue what policies they might be consenting to?") Now, some committee members want to know more about Solis' relationship with a pro-labor group called American Rights at Work. On the group's website, Solis is listed as a member of the board of directors, and she also served as Treasurer of the organization from 2004 to 2007. The question is whether Solis, who as a member of Congress is prohibited from lobbying Congress, fully disclosed her relationship with the group.
American Rights at Work is an important part of Big Labor's push for the Employee Free Choice Act, known more accurately as card check.
No one is accusing Solis of concealing her connection with the group; it was common knowledge in the labor world, and she listed it in the paperwork she submitted for her confirmation hearing. But she did not list it on the disclosure forms she was required to submit to the House of Representatives. It was an unpaid position, so there is no problem with income. But there are questions about whether Solis, as Treasurer, played a de facto role in the group's lobbying activity; if you're a member of Congress, you're not supposed to simultaneously lobby Congress.
Solis may not have concealed her position at American Rights at Work (ARAW), but her dubious statements made on a Senate questionnaire and disclosure forms raise serious questions about her integrity.
ARAW is a 501(c)(4), which means that influencing legislation is the primary political activity it engages in. (On the group's website, where Solis is still listed as a board member, appear a number of pro-Card Check television ads and an announcement of a $3 million ad buy.)
Given her fiduciary responsibilities as Treasurer of ARAW, it seems unlikely she wasn't somehow involved with ARAW's extensive lobbying efforts. But according to the Wall Street Journal, she responded to a written follow up question submitted by Senator Enzi by claiming "I have never participated in lobbying, or advised anyone on lobbying, either Congress or the Executive Branch on behalf of American Rights at Work."
As for ARAW itself, the organization is simply a Big Labor front group set up to promote the ugly agenda of forcing workers into union collectives. (Union bosses also set it up to "tangle" with National Right to Work and originally planned instead to name ARAW "National Rights at Work" before our trademark lawyers threatened them with a lawsuit.)
A quick search of union disclosure forms reveals ARAW received at least $411,000 for "political activities" from various union outfits in 2007 while she was treasurer of the organization. And this isn't even counting over $700,000 in generic contributions from unions that the group received in 2007 -- funds also likely to have been spent for lobbying while Solis was Treasurer.
It was bad enough when Solis flatly refused to answer a few basic questions about her stance on state Right to Work laws and coercive card check organizing, but now she appears disingenuous about her relationship with this union front group and naked promotion of forced unionism.