On March 14, 2013, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Labor (DOL) seeking records detailing the May 30, 2012, visit of then-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to CASA de Maryland’s Langley Park training center.
The organization CASA de Maryland should ring a bell. JW has been involved in a number of high-stakes legal battles against this group, which is fighting for a host of “rights” for illegal aliens, including discounted in-state tuition. But don’t accept my characterization of its mission; in recent IRS filings, CASA names its chief goal as helping all people “participate and benefit fully” in American society, “regardless of their immigration status.”
This is also the group that received financial support from the late Communist dictator Hugo Chavez. Also, race-baiting Department of Justice (DOJ) official Thomas Perez, President Obama’s current nominee for Labor Secretary, previously served as CASA’s president of the board.
Solis, while taking part in a roundtable discussion at CASA’s center, reportedly told CASA center graduates to report their employers for wage and hour violations, regardless of the workers’ immigration status. “[Barack Obama] knows very well that it is very important to preserve the rights of the Hispanic community and of other communities in any area where they are working,” Solis was quoted as saying. “The federal laws are clear and protect all workers equally, whether or not they have papers.”
Interestingly, federal laws are also indeed clear regarding illegal immigration. Unfortunately, the Obama administration continues to ignore them, go around them, and replace them via executive fiat.
Our main purpose with this investigation is to get all of the details regarding Solis’s visit to CASA. On June 1, 2012, we sent a FOIA request to the DOL seeking access to the following information:
A. Documentation of funding to CASA de Maryland, directly or through its affiliation with Prince George’s and Montgomery County Colleges;
B. Talking points, briefing books, or any other internal memoranda (in any language) developed in preparation for Secretary Solis’s visit to CASA de Maryland this week;
C. Documentation of transportation, meals, and security associated with Secretary Solis’s visit to CASA de Maryland this week, including invoices, reimbursement authorizations, and check requisitions; and,
D. Notes, agendas, minutes, and any other communications relating to Secretary Solis’s visit to CASA de Maryland this week, including video, audio and e-mail contact with the press and third-party organizations before and after the event.
Under federal law, DOL was required to respond to the Judicial Watch FOIA request by June 29, 2012. According to the Judicial Watch March 14 lawsuit, DOL has “failed to make a determination about whether it will comply… or notify [Judicial Watch] of its right to appeal any adverse determination… Nor has [DOL] produced any records responsive to the request, indicated when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production.”
The Judicial Watch lawsuit asks the District Court to order the DOL to conduct a search for all responsive records to the original FOIA request, produce all non-exempt records, enjoin the DOL from continuing to withhold non-exempt records, and grant Judicial Watch attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.