Earlier today we set the scene on the interesting dynamics within Louisiana politics surrounding the nomination of Thomas Perez, who heads the now-infamous Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, as Secretary of Labor. Perez’ department’s lawsuit against the state of Louisiana for essentially running out of welfare recipients it could register to vote has given Sen. David Vitter a chance to make headlines in blocking his nomination, and Vitter’s been looking for other state officials to join the charge – so far without a lot of success.
But that hasn’t dissuaded Vitter from playing up the Perez issue. It would appear that the Senator thinks if nobody else is going to eat at this table he’ll just happily scarf down the available fare.
The following went out as a fundraising e-mail from the Senator to his list this morning…
President Obama has nominated Thomas Perez to head the Department of Labor. This nominee has a record that needs to be seriously examined.
For starters, a federal judge questioned his honesty in the handling of the controversial New Black Panthers case of voter intimidation. Worse, he has been a critical player in the Department of Justice’s politically-focused legal actions against Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s office.
Obama’s Justice department is trying to force Louisiana to open up its voter rolls that contain personal information on Louisiana voters and share them with 3rd parties. Help me pressure Perez and the Obama administration with a donation of $5 or anything you can offer.
In fact, I wrote Obama directly in 2011 about this politically-motivated DOJ witch hunt against Louisiana. Essentially, the Justice Department is using one part of the National Voting Right Act to bully Louisiana, but isn’t enforcing the other part of the same law — the one that cracks down on voter fraud. Pretty convenient.
I’m going to need your help to keep the pressure on this nomination going. Colleagues of mine are scared to make this stand because the hyper-left calls anyone who pushes for common sense voter integrity every nasty name in book. You can help the fight immediately with a donation of $5 or anything you can offer.
Rest assured, I’ll keep doing my part for conservative reform in the U.S. Senate, and always fighting for Louisiana.
The next step for Vitter, or the state Republican Party, might be to challenge Louisiana’s other senator Mary Landrieu on this issue. Because Perez, and the idiotic Motor Voter case he’s pushing against the state, is a political disaster for Landrieu – she can’t be on Perez’ side given the Motor Voter case without a steep political cost and what’s worse Perez is making life miserable for her brother Mitch in his role as mayor of New Orleans. Quin Hillyer explains…
The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) pre-Hurricane Katrina had a reputation for corruption and sometimes for racial tension and/or bigotry. It was with great fanfare last summer that Perez and Mayor Landrieu announced a federal “consent decree” governing the much-needed reform of the NOPD. But now the relationship has soured. In essence, the mayor accuses Perez and his DoJ compatriots of double-crossing the city.
What happened was that after Landrieu negotiated a $55 million payment by the city, DoJ separately negotiated another $17 million set of “reforms” with the Orleans Parish Sheriff – reforms which, through a quirk in state law, will also be the city’s financial responsibility. Now Mayor Landrieu is fuming, and specifically blaming Perez’ Civil Rights Division for holding “a gun to the city’s head”.
Naturally, this all could affect how the mayor’s sister Mary looks at Perez’ already controversial nomination – especially since Perez also is behind a fight with the whole state of Louisiana over a separate, race-infused voter-registration issue. Due to that controversy and others, Landrieu’s Republican Senate colleague from the Bayou State, David Vitter, already has announced a “hold” on Perez nomination.
Senator Landrieu so far has issued only an anodyne statement about “reviewing Mr. Perez’ qualifications… and plans,” and she did not respond to my specific question about her city’s dispute with Perez’ division. (Nor has the mayor’s press secretary returned a call.)
At some point relatively soon, Landrieu will have to make a decision on Perez’ Labor nomination. She’s not going to be able to skate on this one like she did when Harry Reid saved her from Dianne Feinstein’s gun-grabbing bill. And if Landrieu comes out against Perez, it will sink the nomination – with bipartisan cover for a filibuster, Vitter will easily find 39 Republican votes to sustain a filibuster and doom Perez.
And this will likely come up soon.